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By Patricia Maresch, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian audiovisual market is rapidly growing. In 2010 cable TV companies, such as Sky and NET, showed a 25 percent growth of subscribers. The Brazilian video game sector is also developing and attracting foreign investment and government stimulation. Brazil’s swelling middle class is fueling a bigger demand for television programs, movies and games.

Presentation at the Rio Content Market, photo courtesy of RioContentMarket
Presentation at the Rio Content Market, photo courtesy of RioContentMarket.

To get producers and buyers together, the Brazilian Association of Independent Television Producers organized the first ever Rio Content Market.

During a three-day event at a hotel in Barra da Tijuca more than 100 Brazilian production companies involved in television and interactive media met with other producers from all over the world. The Rio Content Market is the biggest audiovisual content market of Latin America.

Finding financing for audiovisual projects so far does not seem to be a government priority. There are government funds available, but most Brazilian producers still invest their own money into projects.

Sometimes producers find opportunities in cooperation with foreign production companies or investors. According to media analysts, Brazil is getting a lot of interest from private equity funds focused on media consolidation in Latin America.

Josh Selig, photo courtesy of Little Airplane Productions
Josh Selig, photo courtesy of Little Airplane Productions.

U.S. children’s television producer Josh Selig was one of the key speakers at the event. Selig is the president and founder of Little Airplane Productions which produces animation film and television programming for young children. “I am consulting with some Brazilian animation companies”, Selig said. “Brazilian producers want to elevate their work in the eye of the international television market.”

Recently, a group of Brazilian children’s TV producers went to Selig’s offices in New York for workshops. “Somehow I turned into the Ambassador for the kids industry,” Selig says smiling while he continues; “There is a lot of talent in the Brazilian animation industry. Brazilian design and animation is of exceptional quality.”

Selig goes on to explain that; “Brazilian animation-producers find it sometimes difficult to find ground within the international community of animation.” His advice to his Brazilian counterparts is to be confident about the high quality of their projects and to be pro-active in the market.

But it’s not just the business end of animation production Brazilians ask him about. Selig also shares his expertise about script writing for children and educational research. “American children’s television has a longer tradition in writing for kids,” explains Selig who himself started his career as a child actor on Sesame Street and went on to become an award-winning writer and producer for the show.

Animation from The Olive Branch, photo courtesy of Little Airplane Productions
Animation from The Olive Branch, photo courtesy of Little Airplane Productions.

Selig is also the creative energy behind a new series called “The Olive Branch” which will be aired on the Brazilian Nickelodeon channel. It’s one of a kind children’s television, consisting of a series of 26 one-minute short films, without any dialogue.

The series introduces two characters living in a tree who must learn to overcome their differences and coexist peacefully. To ensure that kids in all countries have an equal opportunity to see the show, Selig makes the episodes available to any broadcaster for one unit of their own currency per episode. 

Director and producer José Padilha from Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad) 1 and 2 was another speaker at the event, proposing a new Brazilian distribution model at the Market. Also present were representatives of Endemol Brasil, Oi TV, Canal Brasil and Walt Disney Channel. For more information about the event visit their website.

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