Chile - Impact of COVID19 on production

Area: All | 06/12/2020 |


Marian Martín, Production Director of Secuoya Chile, explains to ttvnews how these months of production services have been for Canal 13 and third parties, in the midst of a social and health crisis that is hitting the Chilean country hard.

The health situation in Chile has meant that productions have had to be suspended a second time. Under this unprecedented situation, Secuoya Chile seeks to reactivate its operations, mainly with regard to production services for Canal 13 and third parties.

In a dialogue with ttvnews, Marian Martín, Production Director of Secuoya Chile, explains how these months of operation have been, the difficulties and challenges of producing in the midst of an unequaled crisis.

¿How have these three months been for Secuoya Chile?

In an activity like the one we have here in Chile, this situation is a bit complicated, in the sense that over 90% of our workers are technical-operational workers. That is, they have to be on the ground. We are between 15 and 20 people at the office, so we have the opportunity to telework in our homes.

We have managed to have certain areas that can work from home, such as video editors. The rest of the workers keep working at the facilities, so we had to put in place a rigorous protocol. We follow protocols that were already being implemented in Secuoya Spain, which made us anticipate some things and establish the models that had been recognized as very important in Spain.

¿What kind of models?

The first thing we did was to separate the crews, keeping back-up teams and security measures that were initially very advanced. It is true that while the pandemic progresses, the protocols fall apart because suddenly there is a contagion and it is necessary to send 40 people to quarantine and analyze how to reconfigure all the team, and that affects operations. We still have an internal daily committee and one with clients. The area of risk prevention and human resources is doing an almost psychological job of caring for the entire workforce.

How many people are part of the staff?

We have 300 people hired at the plant and, generally, from other services that are not all year round ones, they are between 100 or 150 more. It is true that since April some services have stopped. We have had to stop recordings of TV series and shows. What we basically maintain is our service to Channel 13, because it is the one that requires the most continuity, but there are many services that have stopped due to quarantine.

¿ What is Secuoya Chile's offer in terms of infrastructure and services?

Two years ago we signed a contract with Canal 13. We leased the technical part that allows the production of TV programs. The facilities are on Channel 13, therefore, the channel has a priority use. But we can rent them to third parties such as producers. We make content for other channels. We carry out a planning, advice and continuous audit of the service we provide. We reduced the use of the studios to have gaps we can sell. We also acquired all the TV technical equipment from Canal 13. With this equipment, we provide services to the channel and other producers.

“Dancing for a dream” was one of the shows that Channel 13 had to suspend and then resume the recordings with modifications and strict protocols ...

¿ How has this experience been?

In the project “Dancing for a dream”, the client is not Channel 13 but the producer that produces the program for Channel 13: Lateral. The program was produced live and with the pandemic we had to take security measures, while it was decided that the program should be kept live. The public is eliminated and security measures are taken for the staff.

Finally, Channel 13 and the production company decided to suspend the program and, again, they offer us the option of returning, changing the format a little, making recordings, less staff and very measured movements in the facilities. Our equipment is super protected and all security measures are applied.

What has happened with the other projects?

There were projects that were canceled or suspended during April and that clients had planned to return in June, but with the pandemic data, we are thinking of July and August for television series for other channels. We will have to adapt the productions. The largest production level will be in August. They will be activated little by little. We are lucky to have Canal 13 as our main client, since its activity has decreased, but not by much. There are the newscasts and the journalistic programs. It has hit us in the areas of fiction and entertainment.

How has the fiction programs situation been?

We are planning to return with fiction programs when the quarantine ends. A fictional project that we have with Pablo Ávila's AGTV production company is coincidentally for Channel 13. When quarantine was decreed, which in Chile has been intermittent and by region, when it was the turn of the commune where we have the facilities, we had to stop; then we resumed. We have stricter protocols in fiction. And then with the return of the quarantine, it stopped again. It has been fluctuating according to the measures that the Government has taken. It is also very expensive for customers to suspend the recordings. In the end, an attempt is being made to cover the basic and essential ones, such as Dancing for a dream.

What kind of services do you offer for the region?

Secuoya is based in Colombia, which is its headquarters in Latin America. We are in Peru and we are working to open in Panama and Costa Rica. We are based in Miami and Los Angeles. We work closely with all countries. Whenever an opportunity arises, we see in which country it is best to develop and we can give the best service. In January 2020 we opened in Mexico. It is a project that comes from Chile for Riot Games, which needed a studio in Chile for some programs. But strategically they decided to move from Chile to Mexico, but they want to continue with the Chilean development project. In addition, we have worked closely with the Chilean producers association to try to open Chile to the international scene. Chile has always had problems shooting outdoors. It is not cheap.

Are there government incentives for audiovisual production?

No. Right now the sector is not a priority for the Chilean Government. There is no aid. Chile is a country that since October has been hit by other issues. There is a rather complicated social situation.

What is the local situation in infrastructure and technical resources?

A few months ago we brought a group from a producer in the US and showed them the facilities and they told us that we are at the same level. Our infrastructure and technicians are of the same quality as the US or Europe. I see no difference. They are high-level facilities, technical equipment and personnel.

¿ What will be the next steps for Secuoya Chile?

The plans we had since September, with the social outbreak and the pandemic, have changed. We are open to new projects. We were going to hold the World Climate Summit, which was eventually suspended and held in Madrid. We were going to start serving in the Copa Libertadores. Fortunately, we managed to reinvent ourselves. In Chile we are focused on the provision of services. We want to continue deepening and replicating the different areas of services that we have in Spain. We produce content, digital strategies, transmedia content and strong areas such as engineering.

Source: Todo TV News

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