Telemundo, Zee fire back at Okpala

By Gabriella Opara
March 6, 2018


Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo and Indian-owned channel Zee World have responded to recent accusations that they are flooding Nigeria with foreign programming.

Last month, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, veteran Nollywood actor Chika Okpala called out foreign TV networks for their role in pushing Nigerians to overlook indigenous TV drama in favour of foreign content.

Okpala cited Telemundo and Zee World by name and said Nigerian productions were “suffering” because of the growing popularity of shows supplied by these companies.

Content Nigeria contacted Telemundo and Zee World Nigeria to get their opinion on Okpala’s comments.

Daniel Modern, regional manager of Telemundo and Zee World Nigeria, said: “We came to Africa because we saw a need for rich content that would appeal to viewers. Telemundo and Zee World consistently air programmes that draw their audience in, from telenovelas to cookery shows.

“To address Okpala’s comment, I would say that the reason why viewers are drawn to our shows is because we offer them something they want. Most of our telenovelas are based on romance, family, culture and tradition and the everyday life drama, which is something that greatly appeals to our Nigerian audience,” he stated.

“Furthermore, I do not believe that our programmes cause a drop in the audience of Nigerian TV drama. Look at [Nigerian soap opera] Tinsel. That’s one TV drama that has rich content and a vast audience.”

Telemundo is a US TV network aimed at Spanish speakers and owned by cable group Comcast. It debuted on African pay platform DSTV in 2013. Some of the telenovelas it has aired since then include My Heart Beats For Lola, Aurora, Behind Closed Doors and Woman of Steel.

Zee World, meanwhile, is an Indian channel that launched on DSTV in 2015. Some of the TV dramas it has aired since include Krishi, Twist of Faith and Saloni.

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