Farrell Meisel says there’s no stopping the growth of novelas
Published: June 4, 2014 at 02:00
By John Fernando
O Estado de S. Paulo
Competition with novellas has become a cause of a headache for Brazilian producers. “But novella production in Brazil will hardly end. In life, there are certainties like death, paying taxes and novellas,” says Farrell Meisel, who for 20 years has spent time overseas as an executive of channels in the U.S., Germany, Singapore and even Afghanistan. He speaks on Wednesday, 4 June at 14.30, in the Brazil Television Forum at WTC Convention Center. .
Based in the U.S., for Global Agency, a leading company exporting formats to over 40 nations, came to the country to discuss the TV experience in emerging markets such as Israel and Turkey.
Admirer of domestic production, he recognizes a change in viewing habits. However, he does not see the end of the novella here. “They are part of the culture since the days of radio. The audience is aging, yes, but you need to pay attention to the fragmentation of channels. Brazilian soap operas are as strong as the national football team of yours. There are a lot of creative people working in this market.”
“Perhaps, expanding to lower cost production model will expand international reach.” For Meisel, 58, the dramas are getting better. “You have a dynamic industry, we all (foreign) respect it a great deal. Its reputation and success have already given way to the Emmys. I’ve been in Projac. You compete with the best in the world. The challenge now is to deliver the kind of programming to reach the local quota of national programming and retain viewers,” he told the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, by phone.
Turkish productions are the new success from around the world and now in the U.S., which, he says, have been gaining ground in the world. Because the dramas travel well and are made in a Muslim-dominated nation, the dramas are well received in other countries, because of the story lines.
“The (Turkish) novellas and series now compete with Latin novellas. The novella in the world is like the chocolate in Switzerland. We’re successful in Chile, now, “as we have an executive, who negotiates dramas of Turkey for our company in that region full time.”
Farrell Meisel has also taught and managed television broadcasters in the U.S., and for HBO. He also founded from scratch in post-communist Russia and Afghanistan new TV channels, when the Taliban regime left.
“People wanted to stay home. It was dangerous to go outside at night. And they wanted entertainment. With something local it is best, because they identify with the content,” he explains.
His career began at a small radio station in New Orleans. “My background is local TV,” he says with the idea that the viewer wants to see his/her own image in programming.”
He does not have a pessimistic view of linear TV with the introduction of video on demand services. “Services like Netflix will ensure TV’s rebirth that some multichannel operators can’t serve. That way you can see original shows on the local broadcasters as well. It’s just another way to watch.”
Meisel notes that the challenge comes from DVRs, which record programs to catch up later, skipping the commercials, the main source of income for broadcasters. “I’m now so used to watching shows that way, that the other day I was watching a live program and was trying to fast forward through the commercials, and I forgot I was watching something live,” he laughed. “Perhaps, therefore, there is a need to balance product placement (ads inserted in productions). This is an international issue that we as a TV industry have to also tackle together. ”