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Telemundo Tackles VR With ‘El Chema’ Promotion

Variety logo Variety 12/5/2016 Cynthia Littleton
© Provided by Variety

Virtual reality knows no linguistic boundaries. Telemundo has set what it bills as the first VR production for Spanish-language TV to promote Tuesday’s launch of drama series “El Chema,” a prequel to its hit drama “El Senor de los Cielos.”

NBCUniversal’s Telemundo has teamed with Facebook and YouTube to tubthump the 360-degree VR promotion. “The Chema: A 360 Escape” is available online and is touring malls in select cities including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Houston.

“El Chema” tells the backstory of the drug kingpin who is a central character in the “El Senor” crime drama. The VR program tracks the character’s jailbreak from a high-security prison through a tunnel. Mauricio Ochmann stars in the title role.

The VR initiative was a collaboration of Telemundo’s marketing and digital teams. Telemundo’s effort marks the latest advance for the technology into the realm of mainstream programming and marketing efforts.

“Our marketing team is always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with our audience and engage them with our programming through cutting edge, entertaining experiences” said Aileen Angulo-Merciel, senior VP of marketing and creative for Telemundo.

To watch at home, viewers will need a compatible VR headset, or the 360-degree effect can be simulated by maneuvering a mouse or smartphone.

“El Chema” is the latest “Super Series” to come from Telemundo, which has sought to diversify its primetime lineup with scripted programs outside of the Monday-Friday telenovela mode. The Super Series air in weekly hourlong installments over a shorter period than traditional telenovelas and are designed to be renewed for multiple seasons. “El Chema” hails from Telemundo and Argos Televisión.

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