A telenovela is a type of a limited-run television serial drama or soap opera produced primarily in Latin America. The word combines tele (for "television") and novela (meaning "novel"). Similar genres around the world include teleserye (Philippines), téléroman (Canada, specifically Quebec), or simply dramas (rest of Asia including West Asia/the Middle East). Japan also has Renzoku Terebi Shōsetsu (連続テレビ小説, literally "serial TV novel") which is similar in naming but has some distinct features.
Commonly described using the American colloquialism Spanish soap opera, many telenovelas share some stylistic and thematic similarities to the soap opera familiar to the English-speaking world. The significant difference is their series run length; telenovelas tell one self-contained story, typically within the span of a year or less whereas soap operas tend to have intertwined storylines told during indefinite, continuing runs. This makes them shorter than most other television series, but still much longer than a miniseries. This planned run results in a faster-paced, more concise style of melodrama compared to a typical soap opera. Episodes of telenovelas usually last between 30 and 45 minutes, and rarely more than an hour, except for final episodes. The telenovela combines drama with the 19th-century feuilleton, and naturally evolved from the Latin American radionovela, according to Blanca de Lizaur.The medium has been used frequently by authorities in various countries to transmit sociocultural messages by incorporating them into storylines. By the 1950s, Brazil becomes one of the first countries to produce novelas with high budgets and aimed both to the national and international markets. Mexico follows right after and by the 1970s and 1980s, the country starts to engage more profusely in using telenovelas to shape behavior, particularly successful in introducing the idea of family planning. Mexico and Brazil as pioneer markets for novela production, in the 1990s played a key role in the international export of telenovelas, thus the so-called 'Telenovela Craze' that spread in many regions in the world until today.By 2018 some signs of fading popularity had emerged.
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