Victor Kong – Grupo Cisneros: Mobile advertising and mobile-gaming are our priorities
Victor Kong (photo) was hired as VP of Digital Media of The Cisneros Group more than two months ago. In addition, the Cisneros Group just announced of its new business enterprise, RedMas, a Hispanic Mobile Ad Network and Mobile Studio. Portada contacted Victor Kong to hear about his plans for the Cisneros digital media properties:
Portada: What digital properties does the Cisneros Group have already? Victor Kong, VP of digital media Cisneros Group: “The Cisneros Group of Companies has several ongoing digital businesses, including the leading entertainment site in Venezuela (www.venevision.com), one of the leading news sites in Venezuela, well known for its balanced political approach (www.noticierovenevision.net), and Venevision Mobile, based at our headquarters in Miami, has developed several mobile games for the iPhone and Android platforms; these include games such as ‘Mr.Miguel’s,’ ‘Jose Comes to USA,’ and ‘Chupacabra.’ In addition, we distribute our video content via partnerships with YouTube, Univision.com, Microsoft, Netflix and Hulu in the United States, Latin America, and around the world. And last but not the least, our business unit RedMas, which is the leading independent U.S. Hispanic mobile content provider operating since 2004 under the brand of LatCel and powers Sprint’s and MetroPCS’s Hispanic mobile portals, has become a leading Hispanic Mobile Ad Network and Mobile Studio.”
Portada: Which digital media properties are you developing? Victor Kong: “We are currently analyzing the potential of several ventures and businesses as we are committed to being at the forefront of the progressive digital world. The projects that are more advanced in its development are the recent launch of RedMas, the business progression of LatCel into a premier mobile advertising network in the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America; another area where we continue to concentrate resources is social gaming, as we continue to develop innovative social, mobile-focused gaming initiatives with shared platforms. We are exploring other projects that we will be more than happy to reveal at the appropriate time, as they are implemented and/or become operational.”
Portada: What is your view about online video and how is the Cisneros Group going to monetize its TV content through online video if at all? Victor Kong: “The Cisneros Group of Companies and Venevision in particular have been syndicating content for the past 40 years. Our content not only does well in Latin America, but our telenovelas are also sold in more than 100 countries around the world. So we have been distributing our content worldwide even before the ubiquity of online video. Online video will just enable us to reach even more viewers across the globe. We are already one of YouTube’s main partners at a global level with over 25 million views per month. With more people viewing long form video on their PCs, tablets, mobile phones and connected TVs, online video opens a new distribution platform for us. We will continue to respect the medium of TV and Pay-TV, but with the quality and vast amount and diversity of our content, we can successfully service various platforms simultaneously.”
Portada: Are your efforts directed to the USH market, to the LatAm pan-regional market, or both?
Victor Kong: “We are well positioned to address both markets, but for different reasons each project has a different starting point. For example, since almost 50% of Hispanics own a smartphone and a third surf the internet with their mobile phones, it makes sense to launch our mobile advertising efforts in the United States Hispanic market. In Latin America, mobile internet penetration is much lower, but it is growing quickly and we will expand accordingly in pan-regional market, as well. In the case of Venezuela, where we own and operate the leading broadcast station, Venevision, we can venture into and compete in many more lines of the digital business; therefore it makes sense for us to invest in being the leading entertainment site in that country. We have great interest in the rest of Latin America as well, and we will address these individual markets via partnerships and leveraging content that travels well beyond our natural markets. A proof of this is that our content on YouTube, which is open to all countries, is mostly viewed in Mexico, Spain, United States, and Latin America, with Venezuela being among the top countries, but curiously, it’s not the main one.”
Portada: What opportunities and with which properties/content do you see around mobile marketing? Victor Kong: “While we have our own content, our Mobile Advertising Network in the United States has content from many other established partners some of which are the leading content providers in their respective segments, as is the case with Univision, Telemundo, Televisa, GolTV, TodoBebe, etc.”
Portada: Are Venevision's properties in Venezuela visited by U.S. Hispanic audiences. If so, are you planning to monetize that audience through geotargeting? Victor Kong: “In the United States, we have a long-standing strategic relationship with Univision Communications and consequently most of our content is distributed through their online partnerships and outlets. Nevertheless, we also experience heavy traffic in our own websites, but it mostly comes via our channels on YouTube; and yes, we are currently monetizing this traffic by geotargeting.”
Portada: How does the Grupo Cisneros sell into its digital properties (through individual sales groups and or an online ad-network? “ We have historically monetized our content via various partnerships, but in order to maximize its potential in the digital market, we will launch our own ad sales force in the first quarter of this coming year 2012, to capitalize on our catalogue as well as third-party content. This strategy will be complementary to our existing and future partnerships.”
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