26 JUN 2024

Manjyot Sandhu: “Content made in Spanish is in high demand”

The Head of Global Syndication at Zee describes the company’s new projects related to the Spanish language: the localization of “Ser” and the coproduction of a modern telenovela with Vip 2000.

26 JUN 2024

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Zee Content Sales, the syndication division of Zee Entertainment, started the year with a massive content development deal: the coproduction, together with VIP 2000 TV, of a modern Latin American telenovela for global audiences, championing autism awareness. This groundbreaking collaboration marks the inaugural coproduction of a telenovela between ZEE Entertainment and Latin America. The show is inspired by the acclaimed Indian soap opera "Aapki Antara," created in 2009 with immense popularity for its poignant portrayal of social issues, particularly autism.

This prime-time daily series, "Valentina, My Special Love," is a fresh take on the telenovela set in Guadalajara, Mexico. The show promises to captivate global audiences with a modern twist, weaving a poignant love story about a young woman with autism who is also a genius in the tech world. This dynamic partnership between VIP 2000 TV and ZEE transcends boundaries, fostering empathy, shattering misconceptions, and shining a light on the essence of inclusivity and acceptance while telling a powerful love story. The series will feature a diverse cast of talented Hispanic actors, state-of-the-art production values, and a compelling storyline that resonates with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Production will start next month. Señal News spoke with Manjyot Sandhu, the company's Head of Global Syndication, to describe a new milestone for Zee in the international arena.

How would you describe "Ser's" global appeal, and how has it performed in India and Asia?

"'Ser / El Secreto' experienced tremendous success in the MENA region, where it was the first series launched on Shaid, MENA's largest OTT, reaching the top 5 of most watched shows. It was later aired on MBC, the strongest Middle East channel, where it remained one of the top three shows until recently when it was moved to MBC4. While it competed directly with Turkish productions in these markets, 'Ser' obtained the highest audience ratings. The show also won the prestigious ASBU Broadcast PRO award as the best adaptation of a foreign language drama series to Arabic."

Why did you decide to localize "Ser" into Spanish?

"'Ser' is not only a romantic story masterfully produced. It is full of suspense, intrigue, and high doses of beauty and glamour. That is the perfect combination for the Latin American and European markets."

What is the distribution potential of this show for Spanish-speaking territories?

"It is limitless since we are talking about a show that fits free TV, pay TV, and SVOD programming strategies."

Zee recently announced a coproduction deal with Vip 2000. What's the strategy behind this first business development with Latin America?

"It is no secret that the content made in Latin America or Spain has global relevance. Content made in Spanish is in high demand not only in the Americas but also in Europe and the MENA and APAC regions. This trend has been picking up in recent years, and Zee wants to ensure it is ready to bring audiences that highly appealing content. Zee is proud to coproduce 'Valentina, My Special Love,' a modern love story, in partnership with Vip 2000 TV."

By Diego Alfagemez