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  • 05.09.11

The Telenovela Goes Mobile

Univision has produced a new telenovela for web and mobile devices, adapting this staple of Spanish-language programming for the tablet age.

The Telenovela Goes Mobile

UnivisionUnivision has just wrapped filming on a new telenovela meant to be streamed on the web and mobile devices. The series, called “No Me Hallo” (“Finding Myself”) stars Angelica Vale, a major Mexican star who held the title role in “La Fea Más Bella,” one of the inspirations for “Ugly Betty.” It concerns a musical artist whose husband/manager leaves her, and will “air” in 15 mini-episodes, each three to five minutes long.

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“Because of cost reasons, [web novelas] are usually done with talent that’s not known yet,” Univision Networks president Cesar Conde tells Fast Company. “One element we’re testing is if we can bring well-known artists from the TV arena” into the world of web and mobile. It’s part of a broader strategy on Univision’s part to experiment with interactive platforms; the network itself is now one of the top five in any language in the U.S.

The mobile novela could also usher in a new means of developing telenovelas for the original small screen–the TV itself. If a storyline in a mobile novela fares well, gaining a fan base, Univision could then decide to develop a full-fledged series based on that idea. “We’re incubating a model,” says Conde, a model that could potentially be much less expensive than the current one of pitting several different expensive-to-produce pilots against one another in a ratings death match.

In this particular case, given the success of the production and the big name attached, Univision has already decided to air these mini-episodes all together in a one-hour event, after serializing each mini-episode’s release. Novelas are known for their dramatic cliffhangers, Conde notes, and “No Me Hallo” is no exception. Only, since it was originally produced as a series of brief episodes, the hourlong program “has a cliffhanger every five minutes,” says Conde.

Read More: Most Innovative Companies: Univision

Follow Fast Company on Twitter. Email David Zax, the author of this post, or follow him on Twitter.

 

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[Image from canalrcn.com]

 

About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal.

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