Ask your average Nigerian hairdresser if she is a fan of telenovelas and her answer would likely be NO because she may not know the meaning of the word telenovela, but ask her if she watched ‘The Rich Also Cry’ and likes Mexican Soaps, and the word telenovela will instantly make sense!
Popularly referred to as ‘Mexican Soaps’ back in the day, Nigerians were introduced to the world of telenovelas by ‘The Rich also Cry’ in the mid-1990s.
L –R: Miss Efe Obiomah, PR Manager GOtv, Mr Colin McLeod, Managing Director, Emerging Markets for Universal Networks International and Miss Caroline Ogbuma, PR Manager DStv during the media briefing in Lagos.
The Rich Also Cry aired on terrestrial television back then; the picture and sound quality were nothing to write home about yet it had Nigerian families glued to their television screens. In no time, it became the topic of discussion in many circles on streets, markets, hair salons, offices and even hospitals.
After the Rich Also Cry came a few more telenovelas then they went off the radar for about a decade, resurfacing in the 2000s still on terrestrial television. ‘Mexican Soaps’ aired for only one hour daily until the coming of Telemundo in August 2013.
Telemundo is a game changer and many things stand out for channel. First, it is a 24 hour channel dedicated to airing telenovelas only; the stories are very modern, it is set in exotic locations and the cast is very glamorous.
During a recent visit to Nigeria, Mr Colin McLeod, Managing Director Emerging Markets, Universal Networks International (operator of the Telemundo channel) noted that Telemundo plans to create up to six new soapies every year and so Nigerian viewers can look forward to fresh content on the channel.
This is so far the biggest plus for the channel. The freshness of the content is double-edged, in the sense that the productions are recent, and new telenovelas are launched every other month.
In Forbidden Passions for instance, Nina Piamonte was in the graduating class of 2013; that speaks to the newness of the telenovela. And if we took a quick count, in less than one year since launch, the channel has aired nine telenovelas (My Heart Beats for Lola, Behind Closed Doors, Precious Rose, Aurora, Del Monte Dynasty, Cruel Love, Labour of Love, Queen of the South and Elena’s Ghost). This is phenomenal!
June sees the coming of Someone’s Watching to Telemundo audiences in Africa. From the trailers, it looks like this telenovela will be as suspense-filled as Behind Closed Doors and hopefully, it will have a character just as entertaining as Javier Ruiz. What is certain is that included in the cast are Karla Monroig aka Rebecca and David Chocarro aka Adolfo/Ismael, both in Behind Closed Doors and we look forward to them putting up a good show.
Someone’s watching debuts on 9 June at 6:40PM, local time and as men bask in the euphoria of the world cup, women will for the first time in a long time find a similar pleasure in telenovelas. GOtv subscribers can follow the story and join in the conversation on GOtv’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/GOtvNg.
Telemundo came to Nigerian when the average Nigerian who are GOtv’s core audiences yearned for exciting and fresh content. With all the brouhaha about how expensive it is to acquire new content, MultiChoice deserves some kudos for entering a deal with NBC Universal to bring this popular telenovela channel to Africa but more so for making it available on the GOtv bouquet this within the reach of the average Nigerian.