Dish’s Sling TV promises to “take back TV” for $20 a month through live programming from your computer screen. But when it comes to catering to increasingly important Hispanic viewers, Sling TV is forming a strategy to make sure its advertising targeting capabilities and programming are finely tuned.
We spoke with Jose Romero, general manager of Sling Latino, about how the platform will be tailoring its content and ad capabilities to Latino viewers, and the launch of CUBAMAX TV, its curated channel for Cuban American audiences. It is the first American channel of its kind to offer content filmed and produced on the island.
Introducing Addressable Capabilities to Ad Inventory
While Romero asserts that at the moment, Sling does not have its own ad sales force for selling to Hispanic audiences, he says that the company expects “to introduce addressable capabilities to Sling TV ad inventory in the coming months, enabling us to reach individual Hispanic subscribers across a variety of networks.”
The company has admitted that this type of targeting is key to the platform’s business model, as they are more valuable than broadcast ads. And since ads are not exactly popular with viewers, especially on paid content, these targeting capabilities should help the company get closer to its goal: more relevancy, less advertisement.
SlingTV admits that targeting is key to the platform’s business model.
Sling Launches CUBAMAX TV
One of Sling TV’s latest announcements in the realm of Hispanic targeting is the launch of the CUBAMAX TV channel, which, in Romero’s words, will “create a cultural exchange that will both provide a window into life on the island and connect Cuban-Americans with content from their home country.”
60 percent of CUBAMAX TV’s content is generated by Cuba’s state agency RTV Commercial, while the other content consists of documentaries created by young, independent filmmakers. The channel has acquired the rights to 200 Cuban movies and will be showing two movies and as many as three telenovelas per day. Programming on CUBAMAX TV such as “Sonando en Cuba” and “Vivir del Cuento” will showcase the unique perspective of the people of the island.
The relationship between the United States and Cuba has evolved greatly since President Obama fully restored American diplomatic relations with Havana in December 2014. And the effect of this announcement was as cultural as it was political, encouraging a deeper connection between the countries, who have always been tied by the significant Cuban-American population in states like Florida.
Commenting on the effect of these developments on Sling’s decision to develop content for Cuban-American audiences, Romero says: “Since President Obama’s announcement in late 2014, we, like many companies, have been exploring a greater level of cultural engagement between the U.S. and Cuba.”
He continues to explain that the channel provides an outlet for Cuban voices and talent that had been somewhat stifled due to the previously tense diplomatic relations. “We think normalization has created a tremendous opportunity that is yielding benefits, in this case for our customers, for the Cuban population living in the U.S., and for the entertainers whose work is aired on CUBAMAX TV.”
And while this shift has already undoubtedly created many opportunities for American tourism on the island, channels like CUBAMAX TV will hopefully shed light on the magic of Cuban culture for those that cannot travel there themselves. “While not everyone gets the opportunity to visit the island, our customers can now turn on our TV and get a feel for the culture and entertainment the Cuban people have worked to cultivate,” Romero adds.
Programming for Hispanics: Not So One-Dimensional
Sling Latino has gotten one thing right already: developing programming for Hispanic audiences is no easy task, as those that fall into the ‘Hispanic’ category are by no means uniform in language preferences or taste. For that reason, Romero says that Sling has developed a variety of programming packages: “Sling offers a suite of standalone and add-on Spanish-language programming packages tailored to English-dominant, bilingual and Spanish-dominant U.S. households.”
Best of Spanish TV packages are priced at $5 more per month when combined with either Sling Orange (single-stream) or Sling Blue (multi-stream) services. They are $10 when purchased as standalone packages.
What’s more, the platform is taking regional variations into account: “We recently announced that Sling Latino is the first to launch regionally focused programming packs, beginning with CARIBE, which includes content from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and coming soon, the Dominican Republic.”
And they’re not stopping there. Romero adds: “We plan to add new regional packs in the coming months, and look forward to delivering the regional content that our customers crave in a way that allows for flexibility, mobility and personalization in their entertainment.”