Philippine Telenovela Craze Hits Africa

ABS-CBN's drama series like The Promise (Pangako Sa Yo), Timeless (Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas) and The Long Wait (Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay) are all blockbuster hits in Africa.

“African TV stations broadcast at least one ABS-CBN Philippine telenovela a day while the other TV stations air two to three times a week,” says Reena de Guzman-Garingan, International Sales and Distribution Director at ABSCBN Broadcasting Corporation. “There are channels that have been broadcasting two Philippine telenovelas from Monday to Friday and another one on Saturdays and Sundays. In countries like Kenya, Cameroon and Tanzania at least two networks are currently airing ABS-CBN Philippine telenovelas, which always consist in 45-to-50-minute episodes,” explains the executive.

Kristine Hermosa is now a superstar in Africa as the continent was hit by Philippine telenovela craze, spawning websites and fan clubs.

“Our telenovelas are the hot items in foreign newspapers; there’s the case of a TV station in Africa that delayed its launch hoping to have the Philippine telenovela stars to grace their celebration. The Philippine telenovela business in Africa is a phenomenon and has captured advertising revenues never achieved before by the networks,” states de Guzman-Garingan.

So why does Africa embrace Philippine stories? The executive said it’s because of the mixture of distinct facial features on the screen, ranging from Asian to Spanish, and also explains that due to the infusion of multicultural context, they have captured both female and male audiences. During the World Cup month, the time slots of The Promise, Timeless, The Long Wait and other ABS-CBN’s telenovelas airing on various networks across Africa were pre-empted. As a result, the male audience was warned by their wives of having no meals on their tables for not having their favorite Philippine telenovela on air.

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