Inside Disney Channel’s Locally Produced ‘Violetta’

Just over a year ago, Violetta, a tween-oriented telenovela developed by Disney Channel Latin America and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), first debuted in Latin America and Italy after months of planning and development. With its relatable storylines, catchy tunes and brilliant international cast, the original series didn’t take nearly as long to become a certifiable hit with audiences around the world.

Violetta tells the story of a musically talented teenager (played by Argentine actress Martina Stoessel) who returns to her native Buenos Aires with her father after living in Europe for several years. Once back in her hometown, she quickly discovers the meaning of true love, develops her natural talents and learns her family’s real story… all while navigating the trials and tribulations of growing up.

While Violetta is at first a television program, it is also a dynamic multi-platform experience designed to appeal to and engage its multinational tween viewership. Each episode includes original musical numbers — solos, duets and group songs from diverse musical genres — which have since spawned soundtracks and live shows, including Violetta en Vivo, which is set to premiere in Argentina this July. Violetta also offers exclusive extended content to fans through its official websites and social media accounts.

I recently sat down with Cecilia Mendonça, vice president and general manager, Disney Channels Latin America, TWDC Latin America, and Tricia Wilber, chief marketing officer, TWDC EMEA, and general manager, Disney Channels EMEA, to learn more about the locally produced hit show as it launches its second season and gears up to premiere across the rest of EMEA.

Violetta first debuted on May 14, 2012. Why is the show a good fit for Disney Channel?
Cecilia Mendonça (CM):
 Violetta is relevant to our audiences, both in Latin America and Europe. It is committed to our brand values at its core, and it meets the quality standards that are a part of Disney Channels’ DNA. The series is also unparalleled for several other reasons: It is the first tween-focused original co-production created between Disney Channels Latin America and Disney Channels EMEA; it’s an unmatched pan-regional and multicultural effort with a very appealing storyline; and it has an extremely talented international cast.

Tricia Wilber (TW): Violetta has already launched on Disney Channels across Latin America, Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Israel and Central and Eastern Europe to record ratings. The popularity of Violetta has been mirrored across music and consumer products too, demonstrating its growth potential.

Why is it important for Disney Channel to develop shows like Violetta internationally?
TW: It is important to produce local content to appeal to local tastes while maintaining Disney brand values. It makes the program relevant to our international audiences and brings the brand closer to them because it represents what they feel, like and believe. The mix of globally produced content and locally produced content gives us the strongest proposition of Disney-branded entertainment for our audiences.

What do you hope viewers around the world take away from this unique program?
TW: Apart from being great entertainment, Violetta conveys valuable Disney messages and life lessons for kids and teenagers, including the importance of team work, perseverance, friendship and leadership.

CM: We have received lots of feedback from viewers about how they relate to Violetta. This makes me feel confident that we are producing content that speaks their language and addresses relevant issues that are part of their lives.