What: Azteca Los Angeles 54 announced an exclusive multiyear agreement as the Los Angeles Chargers Spanish-language flagship television station and broadcaster. Meanwhile, cognac brand Hennessey became the exclusive partner of boxer Canelo Alvarez.
Why it matters: Both partnerships reflect the brand’s and channel’s interest to connect with the Hispanic audience in the U.S.

Azteca.jpgThrough an exclusive multiyear agreement, Azteca and Los Angeles Chargers (a team that had been playing in San Diego until last season) are seeking to reach the Hispanic audience through the Spanish-language broadcast of three preseason games.

In addition, they are looking to expand the broadcast to reach fans and viewers throughout all of Southern California.

“We are excited to serve as the flagship Spanish-language station for the Los Angeles Chargers preseason games as they “Fight for LA,’” said on a statement Enrique Perez, Executive Vice President, Azteca America Station Group. “Our viewers throughout Southern California will be able to watch the games live as well as participate in team-supported community events for fans of all ages in the local LA area.”

Los Angeles Chargers

Our viewers throughout Southern California will be able to watch the games live as well as participate in team-supported community events for fans of all ages in the local LA area.

Beginning in September, and continuing through the NFL season, Azteca Los Angeles will broadcast a weekly primetime show featuring Los Angeles Chargers highlights and expert commentary that will provide viewers and fans with behind-the-scenes coverage.

The partnership also will include cross promotion on all social media and digital platforms for Azteca Los Angeles 54 and the LA Chargers.

“We strive to provide Chargers fans with the best experience in every way possible,” said A.G. Spanos, Chargers President of Business Operations. “In this case, unparalleled television access throughout the LA region. This partnership only serves to enhance this priority.”

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Canelo Alvarez Signs With Hennessey

Canelo Alvarez
Canelo Alvarez (Photo: Twitter)

As the world’s best-selling cognac, Hennessey decided to join the boxing industry by signing an exclusive partnership with current WBC Light Middleweight Champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (and management/ promotions firm Golden Boy Promotions), through HOMBRE Magazine.
Hennessy will use Canelo’s upcoming fight against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. at the Las Vegas  T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, May 6th, as an opportunity to kick off their Golden Boy/ Canelo Alvarez partnership.

“Like Hennessy, the Alvarez family lives the mantra of ‘Never stop. Never settle.’ Canelo and Hennessy recognize the importance of community and family in building a successful and enduring legacy,” said Giles Woodyer, Senior Vice President at Hennessey, through an official statement.

Hennessy USAlvarez’s relationship with Hennessy also marks a groundbreaking moment for the Latin community. The fact that such an international label selected a fighter of Mexican heritage to join in this partnership is a major triumph for Latinos.

“We hope that consumers across all demographics will enjoy Canelo’s personal story of pushing the limits of potential. He embodies the spirit, determination and relentless pursuit that inspires us and we hope that it will inspire others,” Woodyer added.

We hope that consumers across all demographics will enjoy Canelo’s personal story of pushing the limits of potential.

Last week the TV upfront and digital NewFront  season concluded in New York City. A lot of buzz, schmoozing and wining and dining.  But there were some salient news and trends that will shape broadcast and advertising  over the next 12 months. Here are 8 important facts, lets’ take a look.

1. Stability is the New Black

Last year, television’s take at the upfront declined 3% to $17.8 billion, according to data from research firm Media Dynamics. Network sales executives present at the upfronts said that  some of the marketing dollars that shifted to digital video advertising are coming back to TV, and that’s good news after two straight years of revenue declines in the upfront market. Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer of GroupM, the world’s largest buyer of TV advertising time, expects upfront spending to be up 4% to 5% from last year, which would put the revenue over $18 billion again. He believes much of that increase will come from advertisers that spend their money on upfront ad time instead of holding back to get a better deal on pricing once the TV season begins.
Despite news such as Interpublic’s Magna Global/YouTube US$250 million deal for Magna’s clients to run on YouTube, the TV ad market is very resilient. TV scatter sales were very strong during the fourth quarter of 2015 and observers claim that this trend positively impacted the 2016 upfronts. Some media buyers think that broad media reach, like the offered by the big broadcast networks, continues to be very important. “It’s tougher and tougher in a fragmented world to get a rating, but when you do, you get rewarded significantly,” NBC Universal’s CEO and President Stephen Burke told Variety.

2. Consolidation out of  Financial Reasons…

Many broadcast conglomerates consolidated their upfront events partly out of financial reasons, but also, particularly for those targeting Hispanic also as a  reflection of the Total Market approach (see below). So
the 20th Century Fox TV private reception was folded into the Fox party as the two units are now under one leadership.

3…and the Total Market approach

total.mktFor networks that target Hispanic and multicultural audiences in a big way, the consolidation of upfront functions is also a reflection of the Total Market Approach.  ESPN and ESPN Deportes merged its usually separate upfront week presentations into one as the two networks’ teams have been integrated. The NBC’s upfront on was not only about the broadcast network.

NBC Univeral also  included all its TV platforms in one presentation, including Spanish-language networks (Telemundo and NBC Universo) and cable networks (from Bravo to Syfy).


4. Live Broadcast/Video vs. Old Streaming and Social Media?

Sports live programming giant ESPN is promoting its product against the fierce competition of OTT providers by doing just that: touting its live broadcasting and streaming rights.   A new series of ads from ESPN aims to prod viewers to choose watching ESPN live rather than streaming a movie, scanning a social-media site for friends’ birthdays or sharing pictures of food. The idea is to seed in viewers’ minds the notion that ESPN content is fresh, live and perishable, while new-media activities on smartphones and tablets can always be done later.

5. The Power of Soccer

Because of the Hispanic audience’s love for soccer, this sport is a huge draw for many networks. So Azteca

Photo: Milas Page. Creative Commons.
Photo: Milas Page. Creative Commons.

America continues to portray itself as  ‘La Casa del Futbol Mexicano,’ with the airing of home matches of the most dynamic teams of the First Division League. Our viewers are passionate about their favorite Mexican teams and they know they can count on Azteca to provide them with the best play-by-play transmissions by some of the most renowned names in the business including Christian Martinoli and Luis Garcia, along with some of the top sports analysts in Mexican soccer,” Manuel Abud, president and CEO of Azteca America, told Portada. Cable sports network beIn carries many broadcast rights for major leagues, including Spain’s La Liga, the British Premier League and many more. This year it also added number of other sports, including American football. At its upfront presentation  the network announced a new deal with Conference USA to air college football and basketball beginning in the fall. BeIn will also add a handful of other non-soccer sports over the course of the next year, including the Women’s Tennis Association, mixed martial arts (MMA) and MotoAmerica, a motorcycle racing series looking to give the sport a boost in North America. Telemundo will launch a mobile, sports-focused site with Vox’s SB Nation to “fulfill the wants and needs of millennial Hispanic lovers of soccer, mixed martial arts, boxing and more.” To start off the site, editorial content will focus on the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Liga MX, NFL and UFC Fight Night. The site will introduce a mix of existing content from SB Nation and Telemundo, as well as new original content.

The big question remains. Will Telemundo and Univision and ther broadcast giants be able to grow enough digitally to substitute declining off-line dollars.

6. Univision’s Vertical and Programmatic Buying Bet

Univision brought to life four content verticals: Sports, Comedy, Music and Drama. Univision (UCI) also enables advertisers to leverage premium inventory, including new fall programming, at scale and in each content vertical, as part of an expanded programmatic buying effort across both digital and linear platforms. Univision also announced seven new comedies  and eight new drama series for next season. “By organizing around key content verticals, UCI is now offering marketers a new way to do business that will allow them to target UCI’s audiences more systematically and leverage the estimated 81 million average monthly unduplicated media consumers UCI reaches across its media portfolio — a reach that has grown by more than 40% since first quarter 2015 as a result of acquisitions, partnerships and strategic investments,” the company said.   “Univision is evolving to be a media company of the future, with more catered programming and advanced offerings that better position us to reach a rapidly evolving consumer marketplace,” said Univision President and CEO Randy Falco.

7. Telemundo’s Millennial Approach With Sexy Digital Partners

The NBCUniversal Telemundo network is jumping on a new strategy to target a younger audience. It is digital lettersspartnering with popular digital publications that already have a strong millennial following, like Mashable, Vox, Tastemade and Buzzfeed. During a May 12 pre-upfront press conference in Manhattan, Telemundo said they want to attract what it calls Generation M: mobile, multicultural millennials. That means young, bilingual Hispanic
Americans. Telemundo and Tastemade will develop “food-centric videos” for Snapchat Stories and other social platforms. Mashable and Telemundo will expand the network’s El Pulso news and information vertical to include a weekly “Facebook Live” show. The series will focus on the “latest technology social chatter among Latinos and highlight the most viral, unforgettable trends, plus unearth hidden digital treasures from Latin America and the U.S. Latino community.” Additionally, the network is working with Buzzfeed to create a short-form series called “Much Ado About Nada,” which will blend Telemundo’s telenovela production capabilities with Buzzfeed’s publishing and distribution experience. The series will offer weekly episodes in English across multiple Buzzfeedand Telemundo platforms.

Of course, the big question remains. Will Telemundo and Univision as well as other broadcast giants be able to grow digitally as much as to substitute the declining off-line dollars?

8. NCM Goes for Broadcast Dollars

Cinema advertising company National Cine Media, which operates NCM Media Networks which displays ads to U.S. consumers in movie theaters, online and through mobile technology attempts to put some traditionally broadcast dollars to work at its network.A their upfront presentation, NCM unveiled a new branding effort — it’s calling itself “America’s Movie Network.” It will enable advertisers to reach demos to be offered in packages such as the NCM Hispanic network, the NCM African-American network, and the NCM High Income network.

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What: Azteca America has joined forces with Ford Motor Company to develop and launch “Fuerza Ford,” a ten-episode sponsored-content initiative showcasing the Ford F-150.“Fuerza Ford”, launching  yesterday July 7, features boxers and experts and will run for ten weeks, with a new video released each week.
Why it matters: Ford used to have a partnership with AOL Latino as well as with other pure digital players. The new partnership with Azteca shows how originally pure TV players are expanding their digital presence to engage brands.

fford_logo_500Azteca America has announced it has joined forces with client partner Ford Motor Company to develop and launch “Fuerza Ford,” a ten-episode sponsored-content initiative showcasing the Ford F-150. The original Spanish-language web series, launching July 7, features notable amateur boxers and experts and will run for ten weeks, with a new video released each week.

“Fuerza Ford” introduces viewers and boxing enthusiasts to Mexican boxers Giselle Leal, Edgar Juárez Calzada and Michel de la Vega Esparza Oteo. The pro boxers will offer viewers expert boxing tips, provide an inside look to their lifestyles, and show how their determination, passion and hard work echoes the spirit of a Ford owner.

Azteca will host the videos on a dedicated “Fuerza Ford” branded hub at http://us.azteca.com/fuerzaford as well as on its Facebook and Twitter social media platforms to connect with wider audiences across several age demographics. View the series promo here.

“Ford is a leader in content marketing for U.S. Latinos, which is why we’re so honored to work together on the ‘Fuerza Ford’ boxing video campaign,” said Court Stroud, Executive Vice President, Network Sales and Digital, Azteca America. “Given that Azteca produces more hours of video content than any other U.S. Hispanic television network, storytelling is in our D.N.A. We are a natural fit for brands looking for high quality, digital-first content.”

Ford has been the exclusive television automotive sponsor for “Box Azteca” since 2010.

“Ford Motor Company is proud to partner with Azteca TV to create a unique co-branded online hub as a source for Hispanic boxing lovers and newcomers alike to come and enjoy extended content beyond the matches in the ring – something we know the audience is passionate about,” added David Rodriguez, Multicultural Marketing Manager, Ford. “The Ford-branded boxing tutorial series is a great opportunity to further expose viewers to the 2015 Ford F-150 and showcase the toughness, technology and versatility the truck has to offer.”

Ford has been the exclusive television automotive sponsor for “Box Azteca” since 2010.

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What: During its Monday nights Upfront presentation in New York City, TV Azteca announced the creation of the Hispanic Audience Platform, a new tool that will deliver integrated cross-platform planning to advertisers. Azteca also announced the acquisition of a Turkish Global Hit series “KAÇAK” as well as an array of new sports programming centered on soccer targeting the Mexican-American audience.
Why it matters: Azteca claims to be the first broadcaster in the U.S. to implement a platform that enables to integrate linear and digital video planning.

Azteca celebrated its upfront on Monday night in New York City’s Best Buy Theater (Times Square). Court Stroud, EVP of Network Sales and Digital, announced the creation and launch of The Hispanic Audience Platform (HAP), a new tool that will enable truly integrated, cross-platform planning and deliver higher ROI to advertisers and clients.  Azteca will be the first broadcaster in the U.S. to implement this type of platform by fourth quarter of 2015 enabling integrated linear and digital video planning.
The new platform is the result of a partnership  with global digital content leaders, Google and Adobe. Azteca revealed its new collaboration with Google DoubleClick and Furious Corp., the creators of PROPHET, a cross-channel planning and optimization platform.

Tonight we are proud to be presenting our most ambitious programming line-up which reflects our long-term strategy of delivering compelling, quality content and programming.

Additionally, Azteca announced its new alliance with Adobe in the development of Adobe’s Audience Manager Suite. Azteca has teamed up with the leading publisher of audience data management, powering the network’s audience segmentation and insights.

More about the 2015 TV Upfronts: Upfronts: Broadcasters Aim to Keep Hispennials Watching, while Agencies Crave Measurement

Azteca America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, S.A.B de Cv., one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language content in the world, announced its 2015-2016 programming line-up at its annual upfront presentation in New York at the Best Buy Theater. On the heels of a successful season to date, reaching over 21 million total viewers, Azteca presented its most ambitious programming slate, featuring an exclusiveLiga MX soccer line-up, “La Hora Ganadora” (The Winning Hour), a new hour of interactive family entertainment, a global novela sensation and updated returning favorites.

Viernes Fubolero

Manuel Abud foto“Last year, I made a commitment to our advertisers and partners to deliver new executive leadership, a new Azteca Station Group, a stronger brand, more solid programming and innovative partnerships,” said Manuel Abud, President, CEO, Azteca America (photo) “One year later, we have delivered on those promises, made impressive strides and achieved significant milestones. Tonight, we are proud to be presenting our most ambitious programming line-up which reflects our long-term strategy of delivering compelling, quality content and programming that keeps our audience engaged.”

“Our ‘Viernes Fútbolero’ (Friday Night Fútbol) sports franchise has become appointment television for our audience delivering major ratings success for our network and our clients,” stated Court Stroud, Executive Vice President, Network Sales and Digital, Azteca America. “This upfront season we continue to innovate and deliver the most value and maximum ROI to our agencies and clients through expanded, cutting-edge, on-air brand integrations, digital content marketing and creative branded entertainment solutions.”

Enrique Perez, Executive Vice President, Azteca Station Group, added, “Over the last year we have invested in resources and expertise in our local markets to create a bonafide station group which will better serve our communities. We are providing an improved platform for distribution and in collaboration with our partners, we will continue to execute national marketing opportunities with local extensions designed to best connect our advertisers and marketing partners with their desired consumers.”

InterMedia and Azteca Acquisition Corporation announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which InterMedia will merge Cinelatino and InterMedia Español Holdings, LLC, which includes WAPA America and WAPA TV (together, “WAPA”), with Azteca Acquisition Corporation, a company owned by Houston Dynamo football team owner Gabriel Brener. The  transaction is valued at approximately $400 million.

InterMedia currently owns Cinelatino with Cinema Aeropuerto, S.A. de C.V., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Grupo MVS, S.A. de C.V., and James McNamara. The new company will be called Hemisphere Media Group, Inc. (“Hemisphere”), and will be the only publicly traded, pure-play U.S. Hispanic TV/cable networks and content platform.  Hemisphere intends to apply for listing of the shares of Hemisphere Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Capital Market.

Potential Acquisition Targets and Latam Expansion

Alan J. Sokol, Senior Partner of InterMedia, who will become CEO of Hemisphere, stated in a press release that  “the combination of these two companies creates a powerful new presence in Hispanic media. Since InterMedia acquired WAPA and Cinelatino in 2007, we have dramatically increased ratings, revenue and profitability of both companies. Cinelatino has emerged as the leading Spanish-language movie channel and the #2 rated U.S. Hispanic cable network overall. WAPA TV has been the highest-rated television network in Puerto Rico for four consecutive years and WAPA America is the only network focused specifically on Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Hispanics throughout the States. I look forward to working with our talented management teams to continue to build upon this success as we enter this new chapter.” Sokol told the Financial Times that he would not discuss potential acquisition targets but that Hemisphere was interested in Hispanic cable channels, Spanish-language content production and distribution, and expanding in Latin America.

Gabriel Brener, CEO of Azteca Acquisition Corporation, stated: “We are thrilled to be merging with and taking public these exciting, highly profitable and complementary companies, which have performed exceptionally under the operational and industry expertise of Alan Sokol and his teams. Hemisphere will meet the growing media demands of Hispanic consumers.”

Peter Kern, Managing Partner of InterMedia, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Gabriel Brener to combine these premier Spanish-language assets under one roof. With the U.S. Hispanic population and its buying power continuing to grow at exceptional rates, Hemisphere is a unique platform positioned to succeed in the most dynamic market in media and represents the only way for the public to invest in a pure-play Hispanic TV/cable network business.”

Following the completion of the business combination, Peter Kern, Managing Partner of InterMedia, will serve as Chairman of Hemisphere Media Group. Mr. Kern has over 20 years of experience investing in, advising and operating a variety of large and small media companies. Mr. Sokol, the former COO of Telemundo, who has over 18 years of experience in the television and motion picture industries as an operator, advisor and investor, will serve as Chief Executive Officer of Hemisphere Media Group. Craig Fischer, who worked closely with Mr. Sokol at InterMedia in overseeing these companies, will serve as Hemisphere Media Group’s Chief Financial Officer. Messr. Brener and Sokol will become Directors of the new company.

Current Azteca shareholders will own about 27 per cent of Hemisphere on the deal’s completion, which is expected by April 6, with one vote per share, while InterMedia and other investors in Cinelatino will own about 73 per cent with 10 votes per share.

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