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Ventura to Offer Spanish

20 Jul, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Call it Elmo en Español. Ventura Entertainment has cut a deal with Sesame Workshop to bring the Spanish-language “Plaza Sesamo” series to DVD.

Ventura claims this is the first time a leading Spanish-language children's TV show has been released on DVD in the United States.

Under the multi-year, multi-title deal, Ventura's in-house label, Studio Latino, has licensed the rights to distribute 10 “Plaza Sesamo” titles.

The first releases are due in November: Vamos A Cantar (“Let's Sing”), a compilation of favorite songs from past seasons, and Me Gusta Ser Yo (“I Like Being Me”).

Additional releases will follow in 2006.

“The audience for Spanish-language home entertainment in the United States is currently underserved and growing rapidly,” said Eric Doctorow, COO of Ventura Entertainment Enterprises. “We look forward to working with Sesame Workshop and offering this invaluable television series on DVD to families across the United States.”

Ventura has long been one of the most aggressive independent suppliers targeting the Latino market, with its Studio Latino operation importing films from Mexico, Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries for U.S. DVD release.

Doctorow cites U.S. Census Bureau statistics that show Latinos accounted for half the country?fs population growth from 2003 to 2004 and now constitute one-seventh of the U.S. population, numbering an estimated 41 million people.

"Plaza Sesamo" premiered in 1972 and is now the longest-running children's television series in Mexico. The show is seen in nearly 50 countries and reaches 35 million homes in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. The program has been airing in the United States for more than 10 years and reaches an estimated 92 percent of U.S. Latino households.

Ventura also has another new deal, this one for its UrbanWorks Entertainment subsidiary to produce a live stand-up performance with comedian Mike Epps. The program will be released on DVD in 2006 and will be part of UrbanWorks' “Platinum Comedy Series.”

Quincy Newell, SVP and general manager of UrbanWorks, calls the deal “a testament to our ongoing commitment to develop premium programming with remarkable partners and top-shelf talent for the urban market.”

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