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Max Is Focusing on “Ambitious” Storytelling in Latin America

Max Is Focusing on “Ambitious” Storytelling in Latin America

Max Is Focusing on “Ambitious” Storytelling in Latin America

Max executives believe it’s not just the volume of subscribers enhancing their business, but the streamer’s “ambitious” storytelling.

Mariano Cesar, senior vp of general entertainment content & programming strategy for Latin America and U.S. Hispanics at Max parent Warner Bros. Discovery, dived into the company’s business model during his keynote session at the international market and networking event Conecta Fiction & Entertainment in Toledo, Spain, on Thursday.

Max only launched in Latin America and the Caribbean in February this year. Cesar spoke about the streamer’s “recipe” for success going forward – and notably, came to the conclusion there isn’t one. But Max’s mission is to keep “fighting for relevance.”

Cesar then expanded on what he meant. “Talking about stories that mean something for people now… How can we tell stories that are meaningful for the audience? [We don’t want] to go unnoticed. But there’s no single recipe. We have become learning machines that learn from the data we receive. Thousands of hours exposed to millions of viewers. So we learn, thanks to the data, how people behave when they watch our content.”

Cesar touched on wanting to give a voice to underrepresented groups, especially in Brazil, with their reality content. When the launch of Max in Latin America was announced, the service highlighted Mexican comedy Vgly, as well as sports series Las Bravas F.C., to their users. However, it’s one genre in particular that Cesar can’t deny is ever-popular.

“We are not ashamed of the word soap opera, that we call novella,” he says. “We take pride in producing things differently. Things have changed a lot in the last few years… There is pride and love for the genre.” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday in Toledo, Disney producer for Latin America Leonardo Aranguibel supported this hypothesis. “The Brazilian telenovelas are the most important [shows] in Brazil. They’re massive,” he said. “Brazilians have been so connected to romantic stories. It’s bread and butter for them, like in Mexico too.”

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But true crime stories – which Amazon is leaning into due to its wild demand in Latin America, the service’s executive Javiera Balmaceda told THR in Spain – is less of a priority for Max. Or, Cesar explains, the streamer is at least being very picky. “We know other platforms [are working on true crime projects] because it is in fashion. What we try to discover is cases that open debate. When a case is still relevant 10, 20 years later this means that something is there. Something that justice has not sorted out yet. We try to be very careful and we also assume ethical responsibility because at the end of the day some victims are involved. So we pick cases that are within a global trend.” A four-episode true crimes series from Max Originals Masacre de los Mormones, produced by Pacha Films, debuted in April this year. It follows the true story of three women and six children, all U.S. citizens, who were murdered in a cross-border Mormon community in Mexico in 2019.

“The demand and how we find a story that is relevant will not change,” Cesar ended his session with on Thursday. “Our belief is increasing ambitious stories. I think there is a new understanding that the volume of subscribers by themselves will not lead to a profitable business. That only makes us more demanding with certain content we want to be produced.”

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