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People change positions, get promoted or move to other companies. Portada is here to tell you about it.

(Looking for your next Career move? Check out Portada’s Career Board!)

Jorge Hidalgo has joined Hemisphere Media Group as SVP of Operations.  Hidalgo will be responsible for Hemisphere’s technical operations with a focus on its Latin American businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

Beatriz Torres has been appointed as the new marketing director of Dior Iberia, reported AdLatina. Beatriz previously worked at Sephora for more than seven years, where she was in charge of the marketing and communications departments.

 

 

 

 

 

Dominican company Scotia Crecer AFP has hired Marcela Giraldo as the new general manager. Giraldo comes from the Bogota-based company Colfondos SA where she served as VP of Marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

Francisco Balbuena has been named revenue growth management & analytics director of LCBU (Latin Center Business Division) of Coca-Cola, reported AdLatina. He had previously worked at Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana and Phillip Morris International.

 

 

 

 

 

Red Hat has just appointed Mercedes Calvo as their new marketing regional manager  and will be in charge of the Regional Demand Center for Latin America. Also, Andres Indaverea has been named public relations and social media regional manager.

 

 

 

 

 

 

People change positions, get promoted or move to other companies. Portada is here to tell you about it.

(Looking for your next Career move? Check out Portada’s Career Board!)

Sam Renbarger was hired by DDB as group strategy director on the Symantec and Energy Upgrade California accounts. Renbarger joins DDB San Francisco from Pereira & O’Dell, where he served as director of strategy.

 

 

 

 

 

Agency veteran Anne Marie Neal was promoted to the newly-created position of global CMO by RAPP. Prior to the promotion, she served as president of RAPP San Francisco, where she was instrumental in driving business growth.

 

 

 

 

 

Caroline Pay, Grey London’s joint chief creative officer, is poised to depart the advertising industry to become the chief creative officer of Headspace in LA. Pay will report to Headspace’s co-founder and chief executive Rich Pierson from 4 September, with a remit to direct Headspace’s creative team comprising content, design, marketing and communications.

 

 

 

Laughlin Constable, a Milwaukee-based independent agency, has removed Dan Fietsam from his position as chief creative officer on May 27 following sexual harassment allegations.

 

 

 

 

Jorge Hidalgo has joined Hemisphere Media Group as SVP of Operations.  Hidalgo will be responsible for Hemisphere’s technical operations with a focus on its Latin American businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia Browne, the managing director of Grey London, is leaving the agency due to family circumstances. Browne has been at the agency for just 12 months, joining from The Martin Agency where she held the same role. She previously worked at Channel 4 and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing industry executive Jeannette Xenodakis has been appointed as media director by Republica, one of America’s leading and fastest-growing cross-cultural marketing and communications agencies. Xenodakis will lead Republica’s media strategy, planning, buying, and analytics practice.

 

 

 

 

 

Univision just announced that Randy Falco will retire from his role as President and Chief Executive Officer. The Board of Directors has appointed Vincent Sadusky, former Chief Executive Officer of Media General, to succeed Falco as Chief Executive Officer, effective June 1, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

ThinkNow has hired Jannet Torres to the newly-created position of Vice President, Custom Research. Torres will have national responsibility for building ThinkNow’s multicultural market research and consumer insights team.

 

 

 

 

 

What: Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media Group are introducing PANTAYA, the first Spanish-language over-the-top (OTT) service dedicated to premium content for the Hispanic community in the U.S. Sources at Hemisphere TV tell Portada that the service will be monetized through subscription revenue and not via advertising.
Why it matters: The service features Spanish-language blockbusters and films from Latin America and Hollywood, the majority appearing exclusively on the PANTAYA platform.

 

Global content leader Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media Group, which targets the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets with broadcast, cable television and digital content platforms, have launched PANTAYA, the first Spanish-language over-the-top (OTT) service dedicated to premium content for the Hispanic community in the U.S., the two companies announced today.

CHECK OUT: OTT Monetization what Hulu, Pongalo and Vidaprimo are betting on for 2017.

The service features the largest selection of Spanish-language blockbusters and films from Latin America and Hollywood, the majority appearing exclusively on the PANTAYA platform.  The service’s deep slate of current and classic films will be complemented by documentaries, concerts and other original premium content.

In addition, PANTAYA will feature monthly films released “day-and-date” with their debut in Latin American theatres for the first time. PANTAYA’s slate encompasses: Pantelion’s unmatched Spanish-language movie catalogue, including box office hit No Manches Frida and the blockbuster Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film of all time; contemporary Latin American hits from Hemisphere’s unparalleled catalogue; classic titles featuring Latino icons, such as Pedro Infante, Maria Felix and Jorge Negrete; and films from Lionsgate’s 16,000-title library dubbed in Spanish, including the classic Dirty Dancing and the Crankaction franchise as well as the Oscar®-nominated Amores Perros.

PANTAYA also provides subscribers exclusive monthly first run access to recent releases such as the animated hit Un Gallo Con Muchos HuevosLadrones starring Fernando Colunga and Eduardo Yañez, and ¿Que Le Dijiste a Dios?, a musical comedy based on the songs by the late Mexican artist Juan Gabriel. Other upcoming first run exclusive titles include the Dominican Republic theatrical success Domirriqueños and the latest installment of the Colombian hit franchise El Paseo.

“We’re proud to launch a Spanish-language streaming movie service distinguished by its breadth, quality and diversity,” said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. “This platform is the next logical step in Lionsgate’s track record of serving the Hispanic consumer with high-end premium content through our Pantelion Films venture with Televisa.  By drawing upon the blockbuster films, vast libraries and world-class programming resources of its partners, PANTAYA is positioned to become a compelling value proposition for Spanish-language and bilingual audiences across the country.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnered with Lionsgate in the launch of the premier Spanish-language OTT platform that delivers first-run and bold content,” said Hemisphere Chief Executive Officer Alan Sokol. “PANTAYA is user friendly, accessible and will provide Hispanic movie lovers in the U.S. an entirely new way to watch movies and connect with their cultures.”

“PANTAYA will be the one-stop-shop for fans of Spanish-language films to find the best, biggest and newest titles from the Spanish-speaking world unavailable on other platforms,” said Pantelion Films and PANTAYA Chief Executive Officer Paul Presburger. “With our focus on exclusive premium content, our knowledge of the Hispanic consumer, and the breadth of our offering, we are positioned to deliver an OTT service to Spanish-language and bilingual consumers that is second to none.”

The service’s operations will be overseen by Presburger and Pantelion Chief Operating Officer Edward Allen. PANTAYA is available through the web and on iOS, Android and the Roku platform in the U.S. and Puerto Rico as well as to Prime members on Amazon Channels in the U.S.

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Portada interviewed Katie Melenbrink, Public Relations & Marketing Director at Hemisphere Media Group, Inc on the company’s recent investment in REMEZCLA, a media brand targeting the highly coveted Latino Millennial audience. One of the key questions Melenbrink answered is that the investment was a minority stake. For mostly cable oriented property Hemisphere TV, the investment in REMEZCLA amounts to a content production and Millennial digital ( video) play.

Portada: Can you be more explicit about your investment in REMEZCLA?
K.M: “REMEZCLA has a proven track record of developing compelling, custom-branded content and we are excited to leverage their expertise to bring a digital-first mindset to Hemisphere and gain even greater exposure to a large and fast-growing digital ad market targeting millennials generally and younger Hispanics in particular. Importantly, the investment provides Hemisphere with a digital strategy for its ad sales offering and provides potential cross‐selling opportunities between sales organizations (and intro to Remezcla’s Fortune‐500 clients). We will also leverage Remezcla’s newly‐opened production studio, co‐develop short‐form and long‐form digital video content, which can be utilized across our TV assets and OTT platform.”

Portada:Is it a majority stake or a minority stake?

K.M: “Minority stake.”

Portada: How is Remezcla going to work going forward (e.g. is the management going to change or not/ new strategies etc).?
K.M: “The REMEZCLA management team and strategic priorities will remain unchanged. Though the REMEZCLA sales force and content production arm will work closely with the respective Hemisphere teams to drive synergies.”

What: Hemisphere Media Group has announced the company’s investment in REMEZCLA, a media brand targeting the highly coveted Latino Millennial audience.
Why it matters: By capitalizing on REMEZCLA’s expertise and reach, Hemisphere is attempting to reach the younger, acculturated Hispanic market.

Alan Sokol, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hemisphere, announced the company’s investment in REMEZCLA, a media brand targeting the highly coveted Latino Millennial audience.

 

Of the 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. today, over 60% of them are Millennials or younger. By capitalizing on REMEZCLA’s expertise and reach, Hemisphere will try to well positioned to increase exposure to this younger, acculturated Hispanic market, while expanding our existing portfolio and developing advertising synergies for our channels.

Along with our Canal Uno joint venture in Colombia, which we began operating with our partners on May 1st, and our OTT partnership with Lionsgate that will launch later this year, we believe that we have made compelling investments that expand our offerings, broaden our audience, and ultimately position us to define the future of the Hispanic video content landscape.”The Company also announced an investment in REMEZCLA, LLC, an influential digital media company targeting English speaking and bilingual U.S. Hispanics aged 18-35. The Company’s investment is a complementary extension of Hemisphere’s portfolio, broadening the Company’s footprint and its reach with the highly coveted Millennial audience.

Of the 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. today, over 60% of them are Millennials or younger.

Based in Brooklyn, Hemisphere believes that REMEZCLA is the most authentic creator of content for young Latinos. Emerging from a grass-roots movement of young Latino creatives, REMEZCLA seeks to promote emerging Latin culture (Music, Sports, Film, Food, and Lifestyle) through innovative digital content.

“Hemisphere’s investment is a testament to the strength of the REMEZCLA brand and our commitment to provide the best content experience for Latino Millennial audiences,” said Andrew Herrera, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of REMEZCLA. “I look forward to capitalizing on Hemisphere’s significant expertise to further scale our video content offering, grow our audience, and strengthen our advertising partnerships.”

 

 

As the US-Hispanic demographic evolves and grows, multicultural strategists and media planners are faced with the challenge of connecting with a consumer that cannot be defined by a single language or set of behaviors. How educated are agencies when it comes to awareness of the appropriate media mix for reaching today’s Hispanic consumer? Are agencies hoping to reach them through the general market, or are they happy to continue making full use of the traditional options, Telemundo and Univision, especially now that programmatic makes it possible to conduct highly targeted campaigns across a variety of media? We talk to industry insiders to find out.

Hispanic Consumer Targeting: Spanish Language Not A Strategy Anymore

There is one definite conclusion among multicultural marketing strategists: Spanish is not enough to reach U.S.-Hispanics, as the acculturated Latino, who often speaks more English than Spanish in their everyday life, is the fastest-growing group within the Hispanic segment. The question on the tip of many tongues is how to connect with young, well-educated Hispanic millennials.

Asten Morgan
Asten Morgan

While the general market may reach some of this segment, those campaigns “might reach them but they are not likely to connect or touch an emotion, so it’s a missed opportunity,” says Asten Morgan, Latina Media Ventures’ Executive Director of Integrated Media.

In the face of this challenge, some agencies and buyers simply resort to the big players like Telemundo and Univision. Morgan added: “I think the agencies need to be better educated about both the choices they now have to diversify their media mix as well as overall targeting capabilities. When there is doubt or too many unfamiliar options they revert to the path of least resistance from the client so they go with what they’ve been doing for years as nobody will question change.”

I think the agencies need to be better educated about both the choices they now have to diversify their media mix as well as overall targeting capabilities. When there is doubt or too many unfamiliar options they revert to the path of least resistance from the client so they go with what they’ve been doing for years as nobody will question change.

Others are sensing a need for greater education on who Hispanics are and where they can be reached. Lucia Ballas-Traynor, the EVP of Sales at Hemisphere Media Group, explained: “We need to come together as an industry and provide clients and agencies with best practices and guidelines on Hispanic TV buying.”

Part of her concern stems from worries that if this education does not take place, agencies will simply hope for the best in reaching Hispanics through the general market, since their go-to’s for this type of targeting, Univision and Telemundo, “are not meeting their total market objectives and can satisfy them using general market networks.”

ana-crandell-omd
Ana Crandell, Group Account Director at OMD Multicultural

Ana Crandell, Group Account Director at global media agency OMD Multicultural, also attributed a “hesitance to expand beyond the Univision and Telemundo’s of the world” to education, saying that it “really comes down to a lack of knowledge of the offerings available in this space,” and that “many marketers continue to think of the U.S. Hispanic marketing landscape as being limited to just a handful of players, which we know has not been the case for many, many years now.”

The acculturated Hispanic has certainly turned many marketing strategies on their heads. Zach Rosenberg, President of MBMG Media Group, offered an example of the firm’s experience with client El Pollo Loco: “It was clear that they were over-messaging to their Hispanic consumer set while not having enough of a presence in the general market,” he explained. “Our strategic approach was to recalibrate their media mix to include less Spanish Language programming as a larger percentage of Hispanic consumers are acculturated now than even 10 years ago.”

There is a hesitancy to expand beyond the Univision’s and Telemundo’s of the world.

But this was not an uninformed decision. “It should be noted that our multicultural expertise is what led us to this rationale and success,” Rosenberg reminded us.

Another industry insider, who preferred not to be named, defended practices that put a heavy emphasis on the big players: “I think that buying these two partners delivers significant reach of Spanish Preferred Hispanics (and at times can reach goals established by some clients),” but that “to be more holistic and well rounded in the approach it is good to include the other Spanish-language stations that may not deliver as high ratings but definitely provide areas that do not duplicate with Univision and Telemundo.”

Spanish-Language TV’s Transformation

So why aren’t Telemundo and Univision meeting their market objectives? Latina’s Morgan pointed out that they aren’t focusing on digital: “They are focused on their core businesses of television, and their digital properties don’t deliver Hispanics at scale.”

Lucia Ballas-Traynor, EVP of Sales at Hemisphere Media Group
Lucia Ballas-Traynor, EVP of Sales at Hemisphere Media Group

Ballas-Traynor asserted that when it comes to Spanish-language TV, “buying has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past couple of years, and the results are concerning for our market since the message marketers are getting is that you don’t need multicultural expertise to buy Hispanic TV, and that you only really need a few networks included in your media mix, which is doing a disservice to the Hispanic segments they are trying to reach.”

Ballas-Traynor highlighted a few factors that she attributes to this transformation: a general shift to a ‘total market’ approach with a focus on “great buying efficiencies,” and a consequential “shift in buying responsibilities to general market investment/activation teams that have little to no understanding of Hispanic media, or of the audience profiles and content that differentiate these outlets.”

She also noted that agency fees for buying have been reduced across the board, resulting in a “greater emphasis on buying agencies that leverage their clout with fewer, bigger media partners.” She asserted that “budgets for accounts that are active in Hispanic are flat at best.”

While some may see it as an issue related to a lack of education in media buying, our anonymous industry contact believed budgets are a significant issue here: “I think sometimes the media buying community can be misinterpreted, because they do understand that there are others S-L stations that bring value to campaigns.  However, the reality is that advertising budgets can be challenging these days and it’s important to secure a strong base media buy to drive sales.”

Spanish-language TV buying has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past couple of years, and the results are concerning for our market since the message marketers are getting is that you don’t need multicultural expertise to buy Hispanic TV, and that you only really need a few networks included in your media mix, which is doing a disservice to the Hispanic segments they are trying to reach.

Nonetheless, education appears to have a significant role in fixing this conundrum. Multicultural strategists like Ballas have encountered “a lack of resources and multicultural expertise” that is made worse by the fact that there is such a wide variety of media options that buyers end up doing “fewer and bigger deals with less players.”

And once clients and buyers have decided who that small group of players will be, they often resist change, funding “the same programs year over year with the same players, rather than adapting their plans to incorporate other important networks, regardless of performance.”

For this reason, many believe it is important that entities like Morgan’s Latina Media Ventures, which has “always focused on the acculturated Latina,” exist. Their DSP platform claims to do a better job targeting Hispanics in English or Spanish using first party data from their two owned and operated sites to build better Hispanic audience profiles. Then, third party data is brought in “to ensure we aren’t solely relying on sources that aren’t dedicated solely to the Hispanic demo.”

Hispanic Consumer Targeting: Disconnect Between Multicultural Strategy, Planning

Ballas-Traynor was clear about her firm belief that the industry must update its approach to Hispanic targeting, asserting that top 50 Hispanic advertisers probably only do Upfronts with a few different media a year.

“They buy ‘bundles’ which include online, cable and other assets.  Perhaps a dozen go deeper than Univision and Telemundo as part of their media mix (mostly partners that they have worked with over the years). And a handful, at most, are adding any ‘new’ networks,” Ballas- Traynor explained. “As you can imagine, this is very frustrating because we know that the buys for those same accounts go ‘deeper’ and broader in terms of media selection in the general market.”

Another large problem is a growing disconnect between multicultural strategists that do understand the Hispanic market, and the general market activation teams who handle Hispanic network investment, that do not. Ballas-Traynor expressed disappointment that many of the activation teams have “little understanding of the differences among the various Hispanic origin groups, the content that resonates most, who the broadcast versus the cable outlets and sometimes who the measured players are.”

Programmatic buying is an important component to most client’s plans, however, we also continue to offer them (in addition to programmatic) scalable ways to engage Hispanic audiences online and off-line.

It is not uncommon for clients to have a very clear understanding of the consumption patterns and demographics of a key segment, how it differs from others within the Hispanic category, and what markets drive their purchases. But activation teams may not be as informed as the client or the multicultural strategist, and that can be a great detriment to the effectiveness of the campaign.

iHeartMedia is one of the alternatives whose assets might not all be digital, but it claims to reach 91% of the U.S. Hispanic population on a monthly basis through more than 100 stations that have significant Hispanic composition such as LA’s KIIS and KTU in New York City, who have a 50 percent and 40 percent Hispanic composition, respectfully.

Plus, the buyers can’t be the only problem. According to Morgan, they are just “the tip of the iceberg,” because “agency personnel are sitting on the sidelines using their own services,” claiming that they can only use internal platforms, “which are easier, safer and often less effective.” It may just take these agencies losing a client for change to occur: “until a change agent comes along or they lose the account, they move at glacial speeds.”

Programmatic, Scalable Options Help Engage Hispanic Audiences Off and Online

iHeartMedia’s President of Programmatic and Data Operations, Brian Kaminsky, highlighted how iHeart Media

Brian Kaminsky, President of Programmatic and Data Operations at iHeartMedia
Brian Kaminsky, President of Programmatic and Data Operations at iHeartMedia

takes advantage of its wide array of on and offline assets to help brands engage Hispanics: “We have seen almost universal interest in our platform from the agency community who are interested in efficiency and new ways to evaluate a traditional media, and from clients who’ve made an investment in their customer data platforms,” Kaminsky asserted. “Being able to incorporate broadcast radio, given its massive Hispanic reach, into audience focused plans is appealing because of the high ROI it offers relative to digital.”

Regarding programmatic’s influence, Kaminsky said: “Programmatic buying is an important component to most client’s plans, however, we also continue to offer them (in addition to programmatic) scalable ways to engage Hispanic audiences online and off-line.” He elaborated, explaining that they created a programmatic solution for broadcast radio “to meet the shift to audience based buying and planning spurred by digital media.”

His team collects audience insights through merging data from their digital platform, social networks and third-party data sources, which allows them to “offer marketers the same type of audience targets that they are buying from connected mediums like digital, including an audience that is made up of people with an affinity for Hispanic culture.”

And the insights become actionable through their proprietary platform, which uses a planning algorithm and cloud-based networking of their radio inventory to optimize plans. “This allows us to identify very specific and highly desirable audiences at the scale that only radio can provide,” he concluded.

Crandell, of OMD Multicultural, agreed that programmatic has had a significant affect on Hispanic targeting: “I find that most successful strategists that work within the US Hispanic space very much see the value of this vehicle and, most importantly, have been able to identify its role within the broader marketing mix.”

Crandell also noted that in her experience, it has been important to remember that programmatic should be incorporated into the strategic level, not just buying and execution: “If the use of programmatic is only executed (and decided upon) at the buying stage, marketers stand to miss out on perhaps the most valuable aspect of this vehicle – that being its ability to deliver extremely beneficial learnings on the target, as they are based on actual user behavior,” Crandell explained.

Hispanic Audience Targeting: Data Changes Everything, But Is It Accurate? 

Some industry insiders are actually worried that programmatic, with all of its data, may be misleading agencies. “It’s tough now, because programmatic has made it easy for general market media properties or agency trading desks to stake a piece of the Hispanic pie courtesy of an algorithm,” Morgan lamented. “Now they can scientifically state how their algorithm reaches Latinos.” But is just reaching Latinos enough?

“We don’t doubt the capabilities, but there is reason to doubt the accuracy of hitting the target, as their targeting foundation is built on third party data sources that aren’t the most accurate,” Morgan noted.

One thing is certain: marketers are at a crossroads, and the first step in the path to truly reaching Latinos is accepting the complexity of their behavior and preferences, something that the industry has yet to accomplish.

Hemisphere Media Group, Inc. the cable TV property targeting the high growth Spanish-language television and cable networks business in the U.S. and Latin America, announced the appointment of Lucia Ballas-Traynor as EVP of Advertising Sales. (UPDATED with interview with Ms. Ballas-Traynor).

Mama's Latinas won the 2013 Portada Content Provider to Hispanic Audiences Award: Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Publisher Mamas Latinas, Marcos Baer, publisher of Portada, and Award presenter Evelyn Castro, La Prensa de Houston.
Lucia Ballas Traynor (left) won the 2013 Portada Content Provider to Hispanic Audiences Award with Marcos Baer, publisher of Portada, and Award presenter Evelyn Castro, La Prensa de Houston.

Lucia Ballas-Traynor will lead the advertising sales strategy for Hemisphere’s portfolio of networks. “I will be based in New York,” Ballas-Traynor tells Portada. She adds that she “will be traveling to Miami where we are headquartered, Puerto Rico where WAPA-TV is based as well as Latin America where we have significant distribution for Cinelatino and Pasiones.”

“I am responsible for overseeing all advertising throughout Hemisphere’s footprint, with a primary focus on U.S. Initially our focus will be on our two Nielsen-rated networks: WAPA América and Cinelatino. Both networks offer advertisers unique packaging opportunities, unmatched by any other media company, to reach underserved audiences in various environments that are appropriate for all key ad categories.”

I am responsible for overseeing all advertising throughout Hemisphere’s footprint, with a primary focus on U.S. Initially our focus will be on our two Nielsen-rated networks: WAPA América and Cinelatino.

Ballas-Traynor has more than 25 years of experience in Hispanic media, building and leading top Hispanic media brands across TV, digital, mobile, print, and live events. Most recently Ballas-Traynor was co-founder and EVP of CafeMom’s MamásLatinas, a bilingual online destination dedicated to entertaining and empowering Latina moms. Asked by Portada on how her approach is going to change now that she will be mostly selling into cable TV, Ballas Traynor responds that her sales career started at Galavision “so this role is effectively taking me back to my roots in terms of how cable TV is sold. My approach is consultative, insights-driven and content-centric regardless of the medium. Consequently, the approach is not too different from digital.”

My sales career started at Galavision so this role is effectively taking me back to my roots in terms of how cable TV is sold.

“We are thrilled to have Lucia join us,” said Alan J. Sokol, President and CEO of Hemisphere. “She has unparalleled experience and success in driving revenue in a variety of established and growing Hispanic media ventures. We’re confident that through her strong agency relationships and unbridled creativity, she’ll drive our ad sales business and put Hemisphere at the forefront of creative thinking.”

Digital Rights

Regarding Hemisphere Media’s plans on the OTT and digital streaming side, Ballas-Traynor tells Portada that Hemisphere Media owns digital rights for a “significant percentage of our content and are well-positioned to capture viewers wherever and however they choose to consume video content. Furthermore, we own an expansive library of the best Spanish-language films and other content and are continually generating new content that can be distributed digitally or licensed to over-the-top platforms.”

What: Hemisphere Media Group, Inc.  will acquire three Spanish-language cable television networks from Media World for US $ 102 million. Pasiones, Centroamerica TV and TV Dominicana will from now on be part of Hemisphere Media Group portfolio.

Why it matters:  The transaction reflects what Alan Sokol, CEO of Hemisphere Media Group told Portada last year, when Hemisphere Media Group went public, that the Hispanic cable market is still very fragmented and players such as Hemisphere Media are consolidating assets. Economies of scale in marketing, programming and distribution can be obtained through this process.

Hemisphere Media Group, Inc (“Hemisphere”), announced that its subsidiary company Hemisphere Media Holdings will acquire three Spanish-language cable television networks from Media World, which is owned by Hispanic content and service provider Imagina US.

Hispanic Cable TV
Hispanic Cable TV

The deal was closed at US $102.2 million in cash, subject to eventual post-closing adjustments. The acquisition is planned as an asset purchase and as such, expected to be funded with cash on hand. The transaction will close in the first quarter of 2014.

Together, these assets are expected to have generated approximately US $12.2 million of EBITDA in 2013.

As a result of the transaction, the networks acquired are :

•             Pasiones, dedicated to showcasing telenovelas and series and  distributed to approximately 3.8 million subscribers in the US and 7.2 million subscribers in Latin America.

•             Centroamerica TV, featuring the news, entertainment and soccer programming from Central America with over 3.3 million subscribers in the US .

•             TV Dominicana, the network featuring news, entertainment and baseball programming from the Dominican Republic, with over 2.2 million subscribers in the US.

Together, these assets are expected to have generated approximately US $12.2 million of EBITDA in 2013.

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.

 

Alan Sokol, Hemisphere Media Group
Alan Sokol

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.”