Just acquired by ViacomCBS from Warner Media, No. 1 Chilean broadcast network Chilevisión will be headed up by two of Latin America’s best-known TV executives: Darío Turovelzky and Juan Ignacio Vicente.
Made Friday, the top management announcement sees Turovelzky expand his leadership role to oversee both Chilevisión and Argentina’s No. 1 free-to-air network Telefe, under his responsibilities as general manager of ViacomCBS Networks America – South Cone. He will also run all ViacomCBS operations locally.
Juan Ignacio Vicente – “Iñaki” to his friends – joins Chilevisión as its VP and executive director, reporting to Turovelzky.
The appointments were unveiled by J.C. Acosta, president of ViacomCBS Intl. Studios (VIS) and Networks Americas, to whom Turovelzky will continue reporting. They come a day after ViacomCBS confirmed it had completed the acquisition of top Chilean broadcast network Chilevisión.
Viacom acquired Telefe in late 2016, appointing Turolevzky director of global content the following March. For the last 45 consecutive months the now ViacomCBS-owned network has rated as the most-watched free-to-air public broadcaster in Argentina.
“Under Darío’s leadership, Telefe has become the undisputed leader in free-to-air television in Argentina and expanded the ViacomCBS ecosystem and I have no doubt Chilevisión will thrive under his direction,” said Acosta.
“I am equally as excited to have Iñaki onboard. With his distinguished track record in programming and leading teams in Chile, he is the perfect choice to lead Chilevisión and to create a perfect stronghold to support the local linear and streaming ViacomCBS ecosystem.”
Free-to-air networks still remain the most popular way that people watch TV in Latin America. Chilevisión will prove a powerful marketing platform for both premium TV service Paramount Plus and Pluto TV, ViacomCBS’
streamed free-of-charge ad-supported linear service.
ViacomCBS Networks America is also looking for Chilevisión to feed its catalog and new productions into its rich and wide-ranging global content ecosystem.
“We are very enthusiastic to have Chilevisión, a brand rich in history that has earned the trust of Chilean audiences, join the ViacomCBS South Cone organization,” said Turovelzky. He added: “They bring with them the largest production studios in the country and an incredible team of talented employees, which, coupled with Iñaki’s vast experience and connections in the region, are sure to grow Chilevisión and the ViacomCBS global brands and streaming products locally.”
“I’m incredibly pleased to join Chilevisión and ViacomCBS, a leading global media and entertainment company with an impressive portfolio of premium content,” commented Vicente. “ViacomCBS streaming efforts in the free, paid and premium space is something that I am confident will help lead Chilevisión into a new era.”
Announcing Friday Turovelzky’s expanded leadership and Vicente’s appointment, ViacomCBS Networks Americas called Chilevision a “strategic asset for ViacomCBS’ expansion in the region.” J.C. Acosta walked Variety through key points to that strategy, plus the new leadership:
The acquisition of Chilevisión is now completed. Could you drill down on its rationale?
J.C. Acosta: ViacomCBS’ core strategy is content. Beyond our brands, one of the big engines of content creation have been our broadcasters, be they CBS, the U.K.’s Channel 5 or Network 10 in Australia. Obviously, buying Telefe was for us the catalyst to really expand our production studios and launch VIS. We truly believe that Chilevisión will be a great addition to that portfolio.
What will it bring to the table?
A portfolio that obviously is a content driver, be it through entertainment, scripted content, news, linear events, and in Chile’s case, in particular – sports. All this content will feed the entire ecosystem.
It’s also a robust platform to promote and showcase that ecosystem to Chilean TV households….
Yes, the critical aspect of this asset was: How do we supersize our scale in Chile? But at the same token: How do we utilize Chilevisión – its content, its infrastructure, its brand awareness – to really push out and scale our streaming priorities with Pluto TV and Paramount Plus. We’ve had great success with a similar strategy with Telefe in Argentina which we’ve utilized to really promote Pluto TV and Paramount Plus – creating extensions of our hit shows like “MasterChef” or spinoffs for Paramount Plus, or creating a slot on Telefe to preview shows that’ll be on Paramount Plus, or just promoting through our news programs, the launch of new events and series. That’s helped us have a historic year achieving the highest viewing share in Argentine television history.
You now own broadcast networks in both of the biggest markets in South America’s South Cone. What kind of synergies are you looking to spark between them?
We want to create a Free-to-Air hub. One that feeds both broadcasters, from commercial to new and production synergies. So if we do “The Voice” in Argentina, we could do it in Chile, same sets, just bring in the different contestants and hosts. In the past, we worked very closely with Iñaki when he was at Mega, adapting, many Telefe formats to Chile, such as “Sres. Papis,” a smash hit in Chile. There are so many things that can be done.
With Chilevisión, you’re also buying Chile’s No. 1 network, up 11% in household rating on 2020, and the most profitable network in Chile, currently by a large head….
Chilevisión has put in an amazing performance in the last year. When you look at 2020/21, it’s at 28.4% viewing share and nice power ratio and 30% as a reference of commercial share, really good momentum. They have the right strategy. We obviously have the right strategy at Telefe. So the question is: How do we created a merged view on creating an FTA hub.
Some of Latin America’s best TV creators and companies are in Chile. Are you looking to create shows for international?
Darío has really grown from the ranks and been a very savvy executive, really planning a content strategy that went beyond just the free-to-air broadcaster. He was very savvy in creating content that could travel, compare itself to any territory globally. Also on bringing back formats, like he’s done so promisingly with “Deal or No Deal,” or “The Price is Right,” or adapting “MasterChef” to “MasterChef Celebrity,” leveraging the the depth of audiences on social to say: “O.K. let’s bring that audience to FTA.” We just want to continue building in Latin America, where there’s so much potential, not only in [premium] streaming but also free space with AVOD and with broadcasters and MVPDs.
Juan Ignacio Vicente looked beyond Chile when at Mega….
Iñaki’s creative sensibilities and leadership are really going to flourish in this executive director role. When he was at Mega, we did a co-pro, [reality TV show] “Resistiré,” adapting an MTV format that aired on Chile MTV and Azteca, a very interesting model. I always got the great sensation from Iñaki – that he would be a great asset at ViacomCBS. He always vibed very well with everything that we were exploring. It’s exciting to think of him producing Paramount Plus originals for Chile like Darío’s doing in Argentina with Telefe. It really allows us to expand his purview beyond just FTA, managing the Chile operations of Viacom CBS plus Chile.