The Hispanic Federation is requesting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the regulator investigate Herbalife, a multi-level marketing firm that sells nutrition products, claiming its marketing materials promise “richness for a few hours of work from home.”
“You can imagine for immigrants, particularly those who are underemployed or have no papers, this promise can seem like their ticket to achieving the American Dream,” José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation, wrote in a letter dated May 17, 2013 and addressed to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.
The letter, which was first published by Business Insider, continues: “A particular concern to us about Herbalife is whether distributors make money selling products or recruiting others to sell products. The latter is an indicator of a pyramid scheme.”
In a statement sent to Portada, Los Angeles-based Herbalife said: “We regret that the Hispanic Federation has permitted itself to be the mechanism by which [hedge fund] Pershing Square continues its attack on Herbalife. No one from the Federation contacted Herbalife to ask questions about our business or express any concerns and the statements in the letter cause harm to our consumers and investors, and indeed all consumers and investors. Herbalife does not pay to recruit. All compensation paid to Herbalife distributors is related to the sale of product to consumers. Herbalife maintains close ties to the Hispanic community and values its relationship with Hispanic distributors.”
Pershing Square is a hedge fund founded by Bill Ackman, who has reportedly been short selling Herbalife stock.
Los Angeles-based Herbalife last month reported 1Q net sales of $1.1 billion, a 17% increase from the same period the year before. In announcing the results on April 29th, Michael O. Johnson, Herbalife’s chairman and CEO, said: “We continue to deliver record results in sales and profitability as our independent distributors successfully execute numerous growth strategies that enable deeper market penetration, developing customers using our weight management and targeted nutrition products every day.”
Calls to the Hispanic Federation Wednesday morning were not immediately returned.
Dallas-based Daisy Brand is not new in the business of buying Hispanic media. In fact, the family-owned dairy producer has been buying Hispanic television for quite some time. The difference now, says Craig Ziemkiewicz, senior brand manager at Daisy Brand, is that they now know what their TV buy actually delivers. “We are now able to track Hispanic buyers who watch general market TV, so we capture the viewing habits in a more holistic and complete way,” says Ziemkiewicz, who worked in tandem with the Latinum Network to better understand why the Daisy Brand was underserved with the Hispanic consumer and how to change that.
Latinum, says Ziemkiewicz, provided Daisy Brand with research, insights and best practices derived from its network of companies and that, in turn, helped the dairy producer identify strengths and weaknesses of its marketing strategy and understand how it would benefit from a total market approach. “That level of accurately tracking TV spillover watching is not possible with a traditional approach,” Ziemkiewicz explains.
“Companies used to have a general-market strategy, then, in isolation, an ethnic one. That is expensive and ineffective,” adds Michael Klein (left), co-founder and managing partner of Latinum Network, which last month launched Latinum Total Market, a business solution that aims to help brands tap into “the power of multicultural consumers” through an integrated approach.
Using a total approach only makes more sense when looking at the numbers behind the so-called multicultural market, which represents over 50% of the total market and is becoming the greatest growth opportunity for brands. What’s more, multicultural consumers represent over 70% of total spending increases in the U.S. over the past 10 years. “We need a strategy to market to a multicultural nation, rather than just a Hispanic one or an African-American one,” says Klein.
Among the brands already embracing this approach, says Klein, are several blue chip marketers, including P&G, General Mills and McDonald’s, but also smaller players like the NBA, which he says has been very progressive in its approach to cater to the bicultural, bilingual Latino, using an add featuring an English-speaking Latino on mainstream television, for example, to capture the non-Spanish dominant Latino basketball fan.
While Latinum does not analyze before-versus-after data, Klein says clients are reporting “great ROI response,” from embracing a total market approach. Does this means ethnic agencies will soon be a thing of the past? “Not at all,” he says. “Brands need to look at the overall market, but then develop a brand strategy that looks at the whole complexity of the market.”
Yahoo! Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer was brief and to the point in announcing this morning the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr.
In her own Tumblr blog post, Mayer called the acquisition “incredibly special” and promised to operate the Tumblr site independently. In addition, she said David Karp would remain CEO, making sure the product roadmap, the team and their “irreverence” will all remain the same.
The announcement was hardly a surprise, as the Wall Street Journal had broken the news on Sunday afternoon, quoting sources close to the negotiation. Yahoo! Inc. on Monday sent out an official release.
Per its own website, Tumblr hosts about 105 million different blogs, on topics ranging from food and fashion to architecture and celebrity gossip. It reports over 300 million monthly unique visitors and about 120,000 signups every day.
Known as one of the fastest-growing media networks in the world, Tumblr is used by many Hispanic media outlets, including the English-language news site of Univision News, which updates several times a day, and even has a weekly section called Tumblr of the Week. Other Hispanic media companies targeting young, bicultural Latinos use Tumblr for quick uploading of photos and videos, including NUVOTV and NBCU mun2.
The 2013 Upfront season is over and, once again, Hispanic TV networks attracted hundreds of attendees to their respective presentations this week in Manhattan. Overall, 10 U.S. networks presented: Azteca America, Estrella TV, Univision, Discovery U.S. Hispanic, Telemundo, Fox Hispanic Media, Vme, ESPN Deportes, NUVOTV and Tr3s. [Cable nets CNN en Español and mun2 had presented earlier this year, as part of the cable upfronts.]
Unlike previous years, this week’s presentations were not purely about television; most highlighted the growing importance of mobile and digital among their U.S. Hispanic audiences. Here are some highlights:
Univision this year presented its programming slate as a “multiplatform portfolio offering one for all solutions” to marketers. Univision presented clients with opportunities in its online video platform UVideos, its recently launched music service Uforia and touted new digital content, including Flama, a digital destination with original video content for Hispanic millennials.
In addition to original productions and new partnerships for TV shows, Telemundo this week announced the upcoming launch of TelemundoMás, a video player for web and mobile devices. Earlier this month, the NBCU-owned network had also announced the creation of Fluency, a multiplatform studio in Los Angeles that will produce 90-minute programs for web, mobile and television.
ESPN Deportes on Wednesday unveiled ESPN Sync, the first Spanish-language web-based app that enhances sports consumption by offering a second-screen experience that the network says will be “synchronized” with live events. Accessible across multiple platforms, ESPN Sync will launch later this year and will be available on any platform, iOS, Android or Windows without the need to download any supporting software. It will consist of social media elements as well.
NUVOTV presented its upcoming lineup and announced the upcoming relaunch of its website www.mynuvotv.com and of an on-demand service that will allow viewers watch NUVOTV shows on the go.
FOX Deportes announced that it will continue to own the exclusive Spanish-language rights of the premium soccer tournaments, including UEFA Champions League, Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. In addition to televising live those matches, Fox Deportes has added interactive approaches at foxdeportes.com and Fox Sports Mobile offers access via video-enabled wireless devices.
Eduardo Hauser and Eligio Cedeño were among Vme’s brand new investors that flew from Florida to New York City to take part in the network’s upfront presentation Wednesday afternoon. The presentation, held at the Instituto Cervantes, was hosted by Venezuelan actress Patricia Velasquez and included remarks by Chairman of the Board Eduardo Hauser, Senior Development Consultant Magaly Rivera and Vme’s new Head of Revenue, Noel Poler.
“I am the new head of revenue,” Poler said in introducing himself, and later joked: “Yes, I know. You’ve heard this before many times before, but believe me, you’ll see me again. I promise.”
After presenting some data on Vme’s audience, reach and distribution, Poler invited media buyers and creative agencies to participate in Vme as underwriters, telling them how to associate a brand or product with a particular TV show but without promoting a product or service. [Being a public-private enterprise distributed through many PBS stations, Vme cannot sell advertising the way commercial networks do; and it is subjected to FCC’s rules for non-commercial broadcasters.]
“Think about it not as to what you have to sell, but about what you want to say,” said Poler, adding that even with the limitations imposed to a public-private enterprise, opportunities abound for marketers in both Vme and Vme Kids. The company is also stressing the importance of buying air time in an uncluttered environment, with commercial air space limited to 6 minutes per hour, compared to 13-19 minutes in commercial networks.
It was clear from Wednesday’s presentation that Vme’s new management will move more aggressively to position itself as “The only mission-driven Hispanic network,” highlighting the importance of mission-driven entertainment and empowerment. Poler even included a slide featuring advertising icon Sir Martin Sorrell, who famously said that “doing good is good business.”
Among the changes to come, executives told Portada Vme will be moving its headquarters to Florida, a move that would make strategic sense since the controlling investor group is based there. No date has been set yet for the move.
Four months after having officially won the account, Acento Advertising this week begins production of new creative work for CenturyLink, the nation’s third largest communications firm offering high-speed Internet, cable TV and long distance. The new campaign will be unveiled in early June.
Donnie Broxson, vp client leadership at Acento, tells Portada the new creative will most likely center on CenturyLink’s 5-year price lock guarantee for its high-speed internet services, a service that is sure to appeal U.S. Hispanics. Acento will be charged with creative services. Media buying will continue to be done by Butler/Till, a Rochester, NY-based media company.
Headquartered in Monroe, Lousiana, Century Link three years ago agreed to acquire Qwest in a tax free, stock-for-stock transaction, creating the third largest telecommunications provider. It has presence in 38 states, though not in big markets like L.A., San Francisco or New York City. Details of the new Hispanic work at yet to emerge, but CenturyLink in March launched a new, English-language ad campaign designed to highlight the company’s advanced network, managed hosting and cloud capabilities.
Prior to Acento, Hispanic creative was done by DraftFCB, which in 2009 launched the first-ever Spanish-language campaign for Qwest.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article stated the new campaign will air this week. Filming begins this week, but creative will be unveiled in June.
Telemundo today announced the launch of Fluency, a new multiplatform studio that will develop and produce bilingual original content for U.S. Hispanics. The studio, which will operate within the mun2 Studios in Los Angeles, is already working on two 90-minute projects: La buena mala, a romantic comedy starring John Ecker and Angélica Celaya, and Isa, a science-fiction mystery.
Fluency, which will specialize in producing shows across a variety of genres, will also create sponsorship opportunities for advertisers, including branded integration and interactive campaigns. It is modelled after several multi-platform content creators, including Michael Eisner’s Vuguru, an independent studio that develops and finances scripted, story-driven content for digital and international platforms.
“This is a great experiment for us,” Peter Blacker (photo) EVP Digital Media and Emerging Business of Telemundo, tells Portada. “Current trends point at short and mid-form content distributed across several platforms: TV, online and mobile.” The idea behind producing content in 90 minutes, explains Blacker, is that you can broadcast that content across several platforms and in different time formats. For instance, the same content can be edited to several 10-minute episodes for mobile; three 30-minute episodes for a tablet or the entire 90 minutes for a TV program.
New series developed and produced by Fluency will be distributed by NBCUniversal in every distribution platform, from television to subscription VOD, electronic sell and mobile networks. None of the series currently in development have signed on a sponsor yet, but according to Blacker, “These are the type of programs our advertisers are asking for.”
After only a few hours and many thousands of tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts and calls to action, The Walt Disney Co. said it will withdraw a trademark application related to Mexico’s Day of the Dead (Día de los muertos.)
The trademark request was related to an upcoming Disney-Pixar film inspired by the holiday. Overall, Disney reportedly filed 10 requests in the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office this month to coin the phrase Día de los muertos. But as the company told the blog Fronteras:
As we have previously announced, Disney-Pixar is developing an animated feature inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. Disney’s trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities. It has since been determined that the title of the film will change and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing.
The Disney-Pixar trademark brouhaha was only the latest in a string of social media-based campaigns launched by Latino bloggers and activists to call on big corporations, politicians or media companies. Not all campaigns end favorably for the activists. But Latino outcry over Disney’s efforts quickly paid off.
As the bloggers over at Latino Rebels said it on their story Wednesday morning: Comunidad 1, Disney 0.
New York-based IBT MEDIA has launched The Latin Times, a bilingual online destination targeting U.S. Hispanics. The site, which had a soft launch earlier this year, features stories on current events, entertainment, business, technology and travel among other topics.
“We see an opportunity to create a voice for U.S. Hispanics,” Johnathan Davis, Co-founder and Chief Content Officer of The International Business Times, tells Portada. The company has not yet made an official announcement about The Latin Times, but it has begun to recruit bilingual reporters and editors. Among the first hires is Ernesto Sánchez, a former Terra.com and People en Español.com editor, who joined The Latin Times as Editor in Chief late last month. The Latin Times employs around 10 people between reporters, staff writers and copy editors, says Davis.
Created in 2006, IBT Media is the parent company of International Business Times, an online business newspaper that so far has spun off 11 international editions, including one in Mexico, which according to Davis himself has yet to be developed.
Expanding the Business Model
Headquartered in Downtown Manhattan, IBT produces and syndicates multi-format content across a variety of categories, with a focus on business. According to Davis, the network reaches between 12 to 15 million monthly unique readers globally, out of which 6 to 7 million are in the U.S. IBT works with content providers including The Economist, AOL, Nasdaq, Thomson Reuters and Yahoo among others.
Since its creation, IBT has worked under the model of an ad-supported website, though its founders are working in adding other layers and expanding the business model. This includes putting some content behind a paid wall; paid newsletters and corporate events.
In 2012, when Terra.com live broadcast the Summer Olympics, traffic to the site not only soared but threw light over a fast-growing, unstoppable digital trend: Users were increasingly accessing the events from their mobile devices, whether a smartphone or a tablet. In fact, according to Terra’s own research, the number of visits coming to Terra.com from a tablet doubled in 2012 compared to the previous year.
Fernando Rodríguez, CEO of Terra Networks: “Jugadores Número 10 is a soccer platform inside our sports site featuring some of the greatest soccer players in the world. This is a site presented by BlackBerry and it makes a connection between the Number 10 and the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Users can go to the site to vote for their favorite number 10 player; enter to win a trip to see a qualifying match between Mexico and the U.S. and read blog post from some prominent sports journalists and soccer players, including Mexican soccer icon Cuauhtémoc Blanco and other journalists Inés Sainz, Alejandro Farffann, Pedro Pinto and Keyvan Heydari. The first phase of this promotion goes through the first week of June.”
P: How is Terra preparing for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?
F.R.: “We are really beefing up our soccer coverage, which has long been an important part of Terra, not only in the U.S. but throughout Latin America. We are also aware that our content is being accessed in second –and third- screens, and that users want to interact much more. Our content has to be more ‘social,’ so we are implementing tools for users to interact, vote, create, etc.”
P: How do you leverage your Latin American content with your U.S. site?
F.R.: “We are taking advantage of our strong presence in soccer coverage in both Spain and Latin America, where most of the best soccer action is taking place. We now have a dedicated team working on translating and adapting our Spanish-language content into English. We are beefing up our English content because we want to reach not only second –and third- generation Hispanics but also non-Hispanics who love soccer. The idea is simple: To leverage our presence in Spain and Latin America and bring it to the U.S. soccer fans.”
P: What would you say is the biggest trend right now among your audience?
F.R.: “We have seen a tremendous growth in visitors coming to Terra.com from a mobile device; in fact in 2012 we doubled the audience that came from a tablet. This is an opportunity, but also a challenge, so we have to constantly invest in improving users’ experience in mobiles and tablets. Only last year, during our live coverage of the Summer Olympics in London we had 16 million people visiting the special from a mobile device.”
P: Is mobile the new way to the future?
F.R.: “I think mobile is definitely the way to the future, but it has a long way to go… When it comes to advertising, mobile still lags behind traditional web, and I can tell it’s far from monetization. This is mainly because it is still a relatively recent phenomenon and also because there is still a gap between the reality of usage and the adaptation of the industry.”
Univision Communications on Wednesday unveiled plans to launch several web-only series; a new online destination for Hispanic millennials, and announced the addition of five new channels to its UVideos platform.
The Spanish-language juggernaut hosted a morning presentation in midtown Manhattan to introduce its digital offerings to media buyers and planners. Although brief, the presentation included remarks by the company’s top executive brass, including César Conde, President, Univision Network; and Kevin Conroy, President, Digital and Enterprise Development. Also in attendance was Univision CEO Randy Falco.
Among the new initiatives, Univision introduced Flama, a digital destination that promises “culturally relevant content” targeting Hispanic millennials. “This is the place for fun, irreverent content,” said Camila Jimenez, VP, Strategy at Univision, at the presentation. Series concepts include Salseras, and Back Home, a docu-series that “takes young Hispanics on a journey back to their ancestral homelands with a small budget and a list of challenges.” Flama is slated to launch in the fall.
Univision also announced the addition of five new channels on UVideos, its bilingual digital video network: The Lifestyle, Cooking, Beauty and Fashion, Comedy and Behind the Scenes.
LatinWorks, Grupo Gallegos, Alma DDB and The Vidal Partnership won awards for having conceived the ‘Top 5 creative executions of 2013’ at the second annual U.S.H. Idea Awards Tuesday night in Miami. Overall, 25 winners were selected among hundreds of entries received. The winners represented a total 10 agencies, and covered work pitching automobiles, film festivals, sports shoes, and consumer-packaged goods.
“The winning campaigns represent what we work so hard for all year long: excellence in Hispanic advertising creative,” said Claudio Vera, president of Círculo Creativo and creative director of Casanova Pendrill, in a prepared statement.
According to a press release, the judges handed Best in Show awards to top 5 executions: LatinWork’s Cine las Américas Languages campaign; Grupo Gallegos’ Batalla (California Milk Processor;) The Vidal Partnership’s digital The Creation of the First Yogurt for Men (Powerful Yogurt;) and AlmaDDB’s The Glad Tent and Adiós Clichés, Hola México.
Ten jurors representing four countries worked in the selection of the winning pieces.
impreMedia today is launching Quiero más fútbol, an interactive space designed to cater to the millions of U.S. Hispanic soccer fans.
Quiero más fútbol is a digital only product; one that doesn’t have a daddy print behind
The Spanish-language site features news and information of the Mexican soccer League, international soccer and up-to-the-minute stats on qualifying matches leading to the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The site launches today and will be updated several times a day by a group of sports writers and editors; it will also feature video commentary by sports veteran reporter Mario Concha.
Unlike most impreMedia’s news sites, Quiero más fútbol has been built using a design technology known as “Responsive design,” a technology, which has been praised by sites as Mashable and TechCrunch, and that basically allows content to adjust (expand, shrink, change position, etc.) depending on which screen is being accessed from. The Boston Globe (bostonglobe.com) and the Barack Obama campaign (barackobama.com) are among the mainstream websites built under this technology.
But, as Iván Adaime, vp digital of impreMedia, tells Portada, the point of Responsive Design goes beyond technical trickery: “We have seen an important shift in the consumption habits of our readers,” says Adaime. “We’ve found that our audience is coming to our sites from more than one device. So, we are going to make sure their surfing experience is going to be great regardless the device they use to read our sites.”
Indeed, recent figures released by Nielsen show that about 45% of U.S. Hispanics own a smartphone; what’s more, they are also increasingly buying tablets. Serving them the content they want regardless of the device where they access it is simply the next logical step in the online growth trend, says Adaime, who previously handled marketing and audiences at La Nación in Buenos Aires.
Responsive Design was first used by impreMedia in late 2012 when it launched a revamped look for Vista Magazine. It is also being used at several properties of La Nación, and will be implemented on other impreMedia news sites throughout 2013.
Asked about why making the soccer site a standalone product and not one within the sports section of the impreMedia-owned group of newspapers, Adaime said Quiero más fútbol is part of the company’s strategy to build online properties that don’t have a newspaper component behind.
“Quiero más fútbol is a digital only product; one that doesn’t have a daddy print behind,” he says.
The “V” of Vme Media Inc. might very well now stand for “Venezuela,” as a group of high-profile Venezuelan investors are committing a “major investment” in the struggling Spanish-language TV network.
Eduardo Hauser, Juan José Rendón and Eligio Cedeño this week finalized a deal to invest an undisclosed amount of money to gain a controlling interest in Vme Media Inc., the U.S. Hispanic content and distribution company based in New York City. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but Hauser, Vme Media’s new Chairman of the Board, tells Portada the investment will help Vme Media transition from a “financially strapped company to one that is properly capitalized.” The prior controlling investor was Spain’s Grupo Prisa, which has been hurt by the deep economic crisis in Spain.
The investment group will supplement existing staff from Vme.
According to a prepared statement going out today, the investment group will supplement existing staff from Vme. Vme will continue to work with its 42 public television partners across the country as well as to grow and enhance the company’s commercial cable network, Vme Kids.
The new investors will now have four seats on the Vme board and have appointed Eduardo Hauser, Victor Cerda, Juan José Rendón and Eligio Cedeño. Prisa, Symcom Venture Partners and Thirteen (formerly known as Educational Broadcasting Corporation) a WNET subsidiary, will continue to be represented on the board of Vme Media, Inc. by Manuel Polanco, Terry Jones and Bob Feinberg.
A bet on the Future of Hispanic Public Media
“We think we can help Vme Media better navigate the world of public media,” says Hauser, a media management expert who has worked at Venevision, The Cisneros Group and AOL and sits on the board of NPR. “There has never been a better time to invest in a company like Vme Media […] Education is among the topics that matter most to Hispanics.”
Major programming changes are not expected any time soon, and while Hauser declines to be specific about staff changes, an official statement that is being distributed to the media today states: “The investment group will supplement existing staff from Vme.”
The network plans to hold an upfront presentation in early May in New York City. Some of the new investors, including Cedeño and Hauser are expected to attend.
Heineken USA , the owner of the Tecate brand, just selected Dalas based INSPIRE! to reach second generation Hispanics. iNSPIRE!’s responsibilities will include supporting billboard, radio and digital campaigns in key brand markets. Based on the success of Tecate’s Spanish-language creative among U.S. Spanish-speaking consumers, Olabuenaga Chemistri will remain the agency of record for all Spanish-language communications for the Tecate franchise and Indio in the U.S. MediaVest’s MV42 will continue to lead the media buying efforts for the Tecate franchise and Indio in the U.S.
We don’t consider general market a target, necessarily.
Portada: Is iNSPIRE! going to do both general market and work targeting the bilingual assimilated Hispanic population?
Felix Palau, VP of Marketing Tecate: ” We don’t consider general market a target, necessarily, but understand that the media consumption habits of bilingual and bicultural Hispanics can be very similar to their general market counterparts. iNSPIRE! has been tapped to develop English-language creative work for the Tecate franchise and Indio that can resonate with this growing population. They will leverage insights and experience to connect with U.S. Hispanics who are more acculturated than newcomer consumers, and pull cues from their Hispanic and American background to create their own identity.”
Do you think Hispanic agencies are better positioned than general market agencies to do work targeting the bilingual-assimilated Hispanic population? F.P.: “The bilingual, bicultural U.S. Hispanic population is complex in nature, given that they expertly blend the best of their worlds to create a unique culture and lifestyle. As with any market segment, what’s important – both on the agency and brand side – is that there is a deep understanding of who this consumer is, what appeals to him and what drives him to make purchasing decisions.”
What type of media will iNSPIRE! work for in Tecate? F.P.: “iNSPIRE! will develop English-language radio and out-of-home creative for the Tecate franchise as well as Indio, targeting English-speaking Hispanics in the U.S. We have chosen to keep Olabuenaga Chemistri as the AOR for the Tecate franchise and Indio Spanish-language creative, based on their success in helping the brands connect with Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics since 2012.”
Olivia Maloney has joined Google as Partner, Business Solutions, Portada has learned. Maloney, a former Batanga Media and AOL Latino executive, took to LinkedIn to list her new job at Google, where she started in February 2013.
Maloney was out of the Hispanic media circuit for over a year. Upon leaving her post at language-learning company Voxy in late 2011, she took a personal sabbatical, during which she traveled around the world.
A graduate of Brown University with a degree in Political Science and Hispanic Studies, Maloney served as Director of Hispanic Sales & Solutions for AOL Latino until 2010, after which she went to work at Batanga. At her new post, she is expected to work closely with another former AOL Latino executive, Mark López, who in 2010 was appointed Head of U.S. Hispanic Audience at Google.
The appointment of Joe Uva as NBCU’s Chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, is “an exciting evolution of NBCUniversal’s strategy to serve the growing Hispanic population in our country,” Telemundo President Emilio Romano told employees at the Spanish-language network in an internal memo.
The memo, of which Portada obtained a copy, comes on the heels of an internal restructuring at Telemundo parent, NBC Universal. The move puts Bonnie Hammer as head of the entire cable entertainment portfolio and Lauren Zalaznick –who previously oversaw Telemundo- to a new role focusing on digital, monetization and emerging technology. Uva, a former CEO of Univision Communications, will oversee both, mun2 and Telemundo.
Praise for Zalaznick
Romano, who joined Telemundo in the fall of 2011, praised Zalaznick’s role as key to Telemundo’s ratings milestones (the network this year reported its best January ever) and –perhaps more importantly her role in helping NBCU and Telemundo secure the rights to the FIFA World Cup starting in 2015. While Telemundo didn’t disclose a specific figure, the FIFA rights were reported to be worth more than $600 million, nearly double the $325 million that Univision paid for its current package. FIFA is sure to give Telemundo an audience boost.
Zalaznick “has been an unconditional partner and instrumental in bringing our company to where we are today,” Romano wrote. “We will miss her dearly and wish her the best in her new role.”
As for Uva, Romano says to be confident in that he’ll help the network grow. “We look forward to working with him and each of you to deliver another record-breaking year in 2013.” Uva’s first day at NBCU will be April 3rd.
Under the restructuring, Uva will oversee all NBCU’s Hispanic content efforts, including Telemundo and mun2, as well as for increasing the presence of Hispanic news and entertainment programming across all of NBCUniversal’s networks and platforms. According to the company, NBCU properties already reach 90 percent of all Hispanics (more than any other media company.)
From old-fashioned telenovelas to action-packed series and reality shows featuring bikini-clad reporters, Spanish-language producers, broadcast and cable networks gathered this year at the Fontainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach to pitch their content at the annual National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) convention, which this year turned 50. A review of the different deals that were struck.
While organizers failed to give out specific figures, NATPE President and CEO Rod Perth said the percentage of attendees from the Spanish-speaking world was “huge,” and reaffirmed the importance of Miami as a hub for Hispanic content. “Miami is a Latin American city in many ways,” Perth told journalists at a Wednesday press conference wrapping the 3-day gathering.
Indeed, most companies offering Spanish-language content to audiences in the U.S. and Latin America were present at NATPE, whether on the Exhibitor floor (almost 40 of the 300 exhibitors offered Spanish-language content) or at the executives suites, including heavyweights like Globo TV, Televisa, Telemundo, TV Azteca and Venevision International. And while many of the deals closed during the gathering involved sales to Latin America, there was a lot of action involving buyers and sellers targeting U.S. Hispanic audiences.
“Latin America is our backyard; but we definitely see the U.S. Hispanic market as the next big hub,” says Cesar O. Diaz, vice president of sales at Venevision International, which was also a prominent NATPE sponsor. “Everyone is now focusing on this market.”
Hosting potential buyers at a suite on the 30th floor of the Tresor Tower, Venevision came to NATPE armed with a few new launches, including telenovelas Rosario and Los Secretos de Lucía and reality show Mi vida en Sayulita, focusing on a group of teenagers living in a laid-back beach resort near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Among the deals announced on or around the conference, MundoFox renewed Minuto para ganar for a second season and it is planning to relocate production to New York City. The show will be produced by Shine Americas. Telemundo struck a deal with Television Nacional de Chile that gives Telemundo U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico rights for TVN’s telenovela script library. FreemantleMedia Enterprises and Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic signed a deal to bring Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide to more than 44 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. Sierralta Entertainment closed several deals for Latin Angels Special, a “travel and beauty series that follows top bikini models, film and telenovela actresses as they travel around the world.”
Catering to a Changing Audience
Hispanic television was also the subject of a crowded panel on Wednesday morning called “The Ever Expanding Opportunities in Spanish-language Television.” It featured top executives from MundoFox, Univision and Telemundo, who discussed mostly about the opportunities –and challenges- of targeting a young audience who doesn’t watch TV anymore.
In addition of its telenovelas, Telemundo, for instance, has gone beyond traditional formats and is rapidly embracing reality shows and producing more web-only series targeting a young demo. “It’s all about reflecting the evolution of our audience and staying relevant,” said Jacqueline Hernandez, COO of Telemundo, who shared a panel with Univision programming chief Alberto Ciurana; MundoFox evp of programming Adriana Ibañez and Creative Artists Agency exec Christy Haubegger.
Also in an effort to cater to young, U.S.-born Latinos, Univision is preparing for the fall launch of an English-language “news and lifestyle” cable network in a partnership with ABC News. The still-unnamed network is expected to launch in September, though Univision programming chief Alberto Ciurana declined to disclose specifics about its programming content or even its name.
Hispanic TV network execs also touched on the growingly diverse subsegments of the market, which is no longer a monolithic bloc of people who immigrated from Latin America and speak Spanish. There are the Spanish-dominant, the English-dominant, the bilingual and the “assimilated” ones, those who “speak English but curse in Spanish,” joked Harris Whitbeck, the Guatemala-born journalist who moderated the panel.
Language constraints apart, one thing panelists seemed to agree on was the fact that Hispanic audiences are starving for good, relevant content, whether they get it on TV, online or on their mobile devices. “It’s exciting to see that we’re moving from Spanish-language programming to programming to Hispanics,” said Haubegger.
Alan Sokol is the CEO of the newly formed Hemisphere Media Group, Inc., which this spring will become the only publicly traded, U.S. Hispanic TV/cable networks and content platform. Valued at approximately $400 million, the venture between Azteca Acquisitions and InterMedia Partners is expected to go public by April and focus on acquiring content producers and niche cable networks in the U.S. and Latin America. Sokol, a former Telemundo COO, spoke to Portada about the new company –which he will lead- and how it plans to tap into the fast-growing world of cable television.
Portada: What would you say is the number 1 goal of Hemisphere Media Group?
Alan Sokol, CEO of Hemisphere Media Group.:”The goal is to become the dominant player in ahigh growth space within Hispanic media, which we believe is the cable space. What’s happening to Hispanic cable is very similar to what was going on in the general market 20-30 years ago: You had 3 major broadcast networks that dominated viewers – and advertising. The landscape has changed dramatically and you have now more people watching cable than broadcast [TV.] In the Hispanic market, -where viewing has been traditionally dominated by Univision and Telemundo- we’re already seeing a dramatic shift. And that’s where we see the most growth, and where we want to be.”
What are the plans for expansion in Latin America?
“What’s happening in Latin America is just as exciting. And what’s happening there is that we’re already seen the explosion of many options in programming; you have cooking shows, sports, all-movie channels, weather… We see a huge opportunity in [all those] niche cable networks. In short, we are very bullish about cable networks in Latin America.”
Will Hemisphere Media Group focus on producing content or buying existing companies?
“We are going to be targeting producers of content but also will explore [acquiring] established channels, both in the U.S. Hispanic market and in Latin America that are underperforming, undercapitalized… or both. You have to invest heavily in order to see your audiences –and advertising revenue- grow.”
Do you have a cable network, or networks, already in mind?
“We are looking at a number of companies right now; nothing that can be disclosed at this moment.”
Are there plans to sell advertising across your properties?
“Of course. Once you have a bouquet of channels, you are then able to spread the cost and sell [advertising] across all of them. We are very excited about this possibility as well.”
Can we expect any changes in your current portfolio of companies, Cinelatino, WAPA-TV or WAPA America?
“For now we don’t expect any significant changes. We [Intermedia Partners] have been operating these busineses for five years and made some important investments in them. Of course this is private equity and you buy things to eventually sell them, since our investors expect to liquidate at a higher value. But in this case, there is so much unrealized value that we’re continuing to invest in them.”
Two veteran executives at The Vidal Partnership, Alberto Ferrer and Gustavo Carvajal, have left their posts at the New York City-based agency, Portada has learned.
Ferrer, a seasoned marketing and advertising executive, on Dec. 31 left the agency, where he was Managing Partner, Marketing + Operations. During his tenure at TVP, Ferrer held several positions, including handling digital efforts, helping clients across industries boost their digital marketing strategies. Ferrer is also the brother of Beatriz Ferrer-Vidal, another agency executive and wife of President & CEO Manny Vidal.
Also out as of January 2013 is Gustavo Carvajal, a native of Colombia, who boasted the colorful title of “Idea Catalyst” at the agency. Carvajal, a PR and communications specialist, had worked at The Vidal Partnership for over 11 years. He confirmed his departure, though he declined to give out specifics about the current state of the agency and/or his future plans.
Key Account Losses
The departures come on the heels of a key loss at the independent agency, led by Vidal himself. Late last year, TVP lost the creative and PR duties for the brand Heineken, which in December announced it was consolidating Hispanic advertising with Wieden & Kennedy.
The Vidal Partnership is a full-service, independent advertising agency working with clients including FEMA, NFL, Tylenol, Rémy Martin and TD Bank.
Calls –and emails- to agency principals Manny Vidal and Antonio Ruiz were not answered by press time.