Simplemente Maria and formation of the entertainment-education strategy.
This article reconstructed the history of this Peruvian telenovela entitled "Simplemente Maria" and identified reasons for its tremendous audience popularity. The high ratings achieved by "Simplemente Maria" and its impacts on such behavior changes as enrollment in literacy classes, were due to its outstanding production team, its excellent Latin American actors, the timing of its broadcasts, viewers' identification with the telenovela's main characters and the high degree of parasocial interaction between viewers and characters, the social viewing context of the telenovela, its novelty effect, the multimedia audience exposure to the telenovela, and the trans-Latin American nature of the plot, setting, themes, and characters. This telenovela blurred the boundary between fantasy and reality in various ways, so many viewers perceived events in the soap opera (like Maria's marriage to Esteban) as occurring in real life. Such mistaking of fiction for fact offers one explanation of how the telenovela was able to cause such "educational" effects as increased enrollment in adult literacy classes and sewing classes, the jump in sales of Singer sewing machines. One of "Simplemente Maria's" most important consequences was formulation of the entertainment-education strategy through which educational content was inserted in such entertainment message as television and radio soap operas, popular music, films, and comic books.