Feb 12, 2019
By Tara Weiss
Business in the age of content globalization according to Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of Viacom International Studios and EVP of Nickelodeon International.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Before Netflix brought Money Heist (from Spain), Fauda (from Israel) and Elite (from Spain) to worldwide audiences, shows rarely became a hit outside their home country, especially if they required subtitles. All that has changed, thanks to streaming services acquiring global content rights, a surprise to some industry observers.
"I've been wrong on Netflix’s international growth,” Michael Nathanson, senior research analyst and co-founder of MoffettNathanson, told attendees during a panel at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) conference in January. “What's changed most is the globalization of content. There are great shows being made in all parts of the world, and we in the states are overlooking international markets.”
Not Pierluigi Gazzolo. He’s made a career of developing and exporting Viacom content worldwide. A 25-year veteran of the company, Gazzolo is based in Miami, where he oversees the Americas and Spanish-language content in the U.S. He’s also head of Nickelodeon International, working closely with its newly-installed president, Brian Robbins, to export and import kids’ shows around the globe.
Most recently, he’s added studio head to his resume. Nickelodeon Latin America has produced kids’ shows since its Miami studio opened in 2015. So when Viacom purchased the Argentinian broadcaster Telefe and then Porta dos Fundos, a Brazilian YouTube comedy channel, they put the three together to create Viacom International Studios. VIS, as it’s known, is a development, production, and distribution studio that commissions and creates original content to sell, co-produce.
"“I think we should focus on doing what we know how to do best, which is to be a content company.”"
"Viacom International Studio can develop a show without it being network-focused, which will allow the format to be more attractive to other distributors."
"If you are a Viacom division, you own your content, so just go out and see what people say. That's how the studio was born."