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Voxxi, the site catering to acculturated Latinos that launched in November 2011 backed by investor Dr. Salomon Melgen, has closed. The site was not able to get enough revenues and/or get a new round of financing. It is not being updated but current content is still being monetized via  ad networks. The site’s closure offers interesting lesson for other English-language media targeting acculturated Hispanics, including Fusion. Portada talked to former Voxxi employees. 6 Lessons to be learned.

1. The Audience Was Defined, But it did not Come in Sufficient Amounts

Before its launch in 2011 Voxxi identified its target audience as second and third generation Hispanics between 25 and 49 years old. The assumption was that this audience does not find enough appealing content on mainstream media and needs a more Hispanic version of news, entertainment and other content areas etc. But what happened in practice? Voxxi.com did not obtain the necessary critical mass. In order to be a factor for advertising agencies you need to have at least 1 million unique users.

2. Bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics May not Need Exclusive Media

Former Voxxi employees tell Portada that they got the sense that Hispanics do not necessarily want to have different news sources but rather have the more Hispanic specific content integrated into the content of mainstream media outlets. As U.S. audiences in general get more and more multicultural and multiracial, mainstream media outlets like the The New York Times or Buzzfeed are increasingly catering to Multicultural Millennials. The boundaries between Hispanic targeted media and more general media get blurry. More importantly, for the survival of media properties like Voxxi, is that those boundaries also get blurry to the media buyers who may not see a need to advertise in exclusively Hispanic targeted media. In addition, audiences now consume different types of media sources and within that mix Social Media is crucial. Content like Voxxi’s needs to be perfectly integrated into Social Media, otherwise it is not really easy to access.

In order to be a factor for Ad-Agencies you need to have at least 1 million unique users.

3. Go the “Jose Diaz Balart Way”, Not the “Jorge Ramos Way”

Jose Diaz-Balart
Jose Diaz-Balart

Cuban American Journalist José Díaz-Balart hosts “The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart” on MSNBC, a weekday morning political/news talk show on MSNBC that airs live from 9 am to 11 am. The program integrates Hispanic and Multicultural themes into a much wider content program and audience. The impact of José Díaz-Balart is much bigger than what Jorge Ramos has done in Fusion, where he hosts the Fusion TV English-language program ,America with Jorge Ramos.” While Fusion now understands itself mostly as a media property targeting Multicultural Millennials, it was originally conceived to primarily attract a younger audience of an English-speaking Hispanic and Latino American background. MSNBC’s definition is much broader: American basic cable and satellite channel that provides news coverage and political opinion on current events. In other words, Díaz-Balart introduces the Hispanic vision to a mainstream audience.

4. Good Content is not Enough, You Need Tech

Another lesson, Voxxi’s former employees tell Portada, is that “good content is not enough.” The development of a customized technological platform to distribute and amplify content is crucial too. Cutting edge analytics, provided by a strong platform, are another element. For instance, Buzzfeed provides detailed metrics over content usage that help marketers identify which key content areas they want to align with. “Content is king as long as a strong tech platform is the kings throne.” Another element of the content platform is its relationship with Social Media. In short a successful digital media property nowadays is a mix between a media-content company and a tech company.

Content is king as long as a strong tech platform is the kings throne.

5. Is Facebook the new “frenemy”?

Publishers used to have a “frenemy” relationship with Google, in fact, they still have it. Well, now it seems like Facebook is “privileged” to also have become a “frenemy”. The social media giant is very effectively including content from a myriad of sites that it then monetizes via advertising. These advertising revenues may have been generated by destination sites, like Voxxi, themselves. Although, and that is the big catch, sites like Voxxi would have never gotten the engagement and huge audience figures social media properties including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram get.

6. Hispanic Leaders are not interested enough in supporting Media that reflects the Hispanic Community

Hispanic Associations and their leaders have not yet realized how important it is to support and invest in Multicultural driven Media. Very few of the large media companies (definitely not private equity backed Univision and Comcast owned Telemundo) are in the hands of Hispanics. There does not seem to be much interest of Hispanic leaders to invest in Hispanic targeted media that reflects the interest of the Hispanic community. Examples like Jeff Bezos acquisition of the Washington Post, Facebook Founder Chris Hughes investing in The New Republic or even the Pro-Publica model are almost non-existent in the Hispanic realm.

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What: With an exclusive interview with President Obama, yesterday took place the much anticipated launch of the new Univision-ABC English-language TV channel aimed at young Hispanics, dubbed Fusion.
Why is it important: Fusion attempts to meet younger viewers’ rapidly-changing media consumption habits. Although initially aimed towards second and third-generation Latinos (a segment advertisers are increasingly interested in reaching), this channel, run by the leader in Latin media, will ultimately address a much wider audience, that is, adults under 35 years of age, of all ethnic backgrounds. The buzz generated by this new venture is loud and solid.

Fusion kicked off Monday, October 28, at 6:57 p.m. EST, with a special edition of “America with Jorge Ramos”, featuring an interview with President Barack Obama conducted by ABC News correspondent Jim Avila. This new TV channel will launch initially with a limited distribution, as it will be available in only about 20 million homes (1/5 of the U.S. households with paid TV subscriptions).

According to L.A. Times, Cablevision, Charter Communications and Cox Communications are the cable companies that will carry the new channel –plus, At&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber are also involved. ABC will be in charge of distribution, while Univision will be responsible for programming. Both companies have been planning the new channel for more than two years. Fusion’s website is integrated in the Yahoo-ABC News Network.

Although Fusion targets young Hispanics, it will not have a traditional Latino-feel because these younger generations are American and don’t want to be treated as if they were not (“They don’t want to be ghettoized“, says Fusion’s CEO Isaac Lee), that’s why its contents will be in English.

LOS ANGELES TIMESEnglish-language cable TV channel Fusion is designed to appeal to young U.S.-born Latinos who primarily speak English. The initiative, a 50-50 joint venture with Disney/ABC Television, hopes to engage members of the millennial generation, those roughly between the ages of 18 and 34. Colombian-born Isaac Lee (42), Fusion’s recently appointed CEO, said that, since twenty percent of millennials are Latino, while researching the target audience for the new venture they soon saw that the opportunity was not just with Hispanics, but also with millennials. Lee also said that the channel will not try to cover breaking news because most younger viewers learn about big events through Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet.

This is a huge opportunity. Hispanics are young, and the purchasing power of millennials is going to be bigger than baby boomers’ very soon.

–Isaac Lee, president of Univision News and newly-named chief executive officer of Fusion

 

ADAGEFew parts of the media business are growing as quickly as Hispanic media. However, as competitors add their own new channels variously focused on Hispanics, young people and news, where will Fusion fit? The motivation to the network is clear: Hispanic media spending is growing faster than the general market, increasing 11% to $7.9 billion in 2012. TV accounts for most of that spending, at $5.8 billion, but just $246 million goes to Hispanic cable TV networks. Fusion seeks to change that ratio by targeting millennial Hispanics with hard news, news satire, sports and commentary in English. Marc Morse, senior VP-national broadcast at media agency RJ Palmer, said that although Hispanic viewers can be found in other places, marketers who dedicate time and money on programming specifically targeting the Hispanic market have a greater recall.

We are winking at Hispanic, but Fusion is not overtly Hispanic. If you’re not Hispanic, you won’t feel like the network isn’t for you.
–Catherine Sullivan, senior VP-ABC News Sales

 

REUTERSThe target demographic for the new English-language channel is several decades younger than the audiences for CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, which pull in viewers with a median age of 60 or higher, according to media research company Nielsen. The new channel will also test the market for TV news developed for Hispanics, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, but delivered in English rather than Spanish. Some of its programming will feature a heavy dose of humor, a bid for viewers who keep up with current events through shows like “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Fusion will turn to ABC reporters for news from around the world, and for special events such as election night coverage. The Disney team will handle ad sales and distribution for Fusion, bringing the ability to sell it to cable operators in a package with its popular sports channel, ESPN.

Fusion is hoping to cash in on advertisers’ awareness of the growing purchasing power of Hispanics, estimated to rise to $1.5 trillion by 2015 from $1 trillion in 2010, according to a 2012 study by Nielsen. Advertisers may still take some persuading to break with a long-held tradition of reaching Hispanics in Spanish.

The mantra of Spanish to reach Hispanics is still very strong. A lot of advertisers are afraid of trying to do it in English.
–Arturo Villar, publisher of Hispanic Market Weekly

 

MIAMI HERALDFusion offers a look at the challenges in pursuing Hispanic consumers, perhaps the hottest target in marketing today. The network scrapped the initial Latin identity after focus groups showed young Hispanics were put off by the idea of a television channel centered on their ethnicity, said Isaac Lee, head of news at Univision and CEO of Fusion. Univision’s anchor Jorge Ramos (55) was an obvious choice for Univision’s original concept, but the rest of the line-up captures Fusion’s unconventional approach to news and talk: an animated satire show, comedians taking on sports, a puppet talk show, and an evening program on sex and politics.

Fusion’s broader demographic makes for complicated marketing, since Lee and others say young Hispanics remain their primary target. “Imagine if you are doing archery,” Lee said. “The bull’s-eye, the red dot, is still an Hispanic. But the whole target is not just the red dot.”

The only way to reach [Hispanic millennials] is to provide fantastic content, and to include them.
–Isaac Lee, CEO, Fusion

 

FRANCE 24 (AFP)Fusion touts itself as a channel aimed at “a young, diverse and inclusive America” and said it would offer “a unique mix of smart and irreverent original reporting, lifestyle and comedic content.” Fusion’s CEO Isaac Lee said that over 80 percent of millennials sleep with their phones next to their beds every night because they don’t want to miss a beat, so the new channel will try to respond to their media consumption needs.

We want to be the ones [young Hispanic millennials] wake up with. This beta site will help lay the building blocks as we continue to develop our digital properties.
–Isaac Lee, CEO, Fusion

 

What: With an exclusive interview with President Obama, yesterday took place the much anticipated launch of the new Univision-ABC English-language TV channel aimed at young Hispanics, dubbed Fusion.
Why is it important: Fusion attempts to meet younger viewers’ rapidly-changing media consumption habits. Although initially aimed towards second and third-generation Latinos (a segment advertisers are increasingly interested in reaching), this channel, run by the leader in Latin media, will ultimately address a much wider audience, that is, adults under 35 years of age, of all ethnic backgrounds. The buzz generated by this new venture is loud and solid.

Fusion kicked off Monday, October 28, at 6:57 p.m. EST, with a special edition of  “America with Jorge Ramos”, featuring an interview with President Barack Obama conducted by ABC News correspondent Jim Avila. This new TV channel will launch initially with a limited distribution, as it will be available in only about 20 million homes (1/5 of the U.S. households with paid TV subscriptions).

According to L.A. Times, Cablevision, Charter Communications and Cox Communications are the cable companies that will carry the new channel –plus, At&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber are also involved. ABC will be in charge of distribution, while Univision will be responsible for programming. Both companies have been planning the new channel for more than two years. Fusion’s website is integrated in the Yahoo-ABC News Network.

Although Fusion targets young Hispanics, it will not have a traditional Latino-feel because these younger generations are American and don’t want to be treated as if they were not (“They don’t want to be ghettoized“, says Fusion’s CEO Isaac Lee), that’s why its contents will be in English.

LOS ANGELES TIMESEnglish-language cable TV channel Fusion is designed to appeal to young U.S.-born Latinos who primarily speak English. The initiative, a 50-50 joint venture with Disney/ABC Television, hopes to engage members of the millennial generation, those roughly between the ages of 18 and 34. Colombian-born Isaac Lee (42), Fusion’s recently appointed CEO, said that, since twenty percent of millennials are Latino, while researching the target audience for the new venture they soon saw that the opportunity was not just with Hispanics, but also with millennials. Lee also said that the channel will not try to cover breaking news because most younger viewers learn about big events through Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet.

This is a huge opportunity. Hispanics are young, and the purchasing power of millennials is going to be bigger than baby boomers’ very soon.

–Isaac Lee, president of Univision News and newly-named chief executive officer of Fusion

 

ADAGE – Few parts of the media business are growing as quickly as Hispanic media. However, as competitors add their own new channels variously focused on Hispanics, young people and news, where will Fusion fit? The motivation to the network is clear: Hispanic media spending is growing faster than the general market, increasing 11% to $7.9 billion in 2012. TV accounts for most of that spending, at $5.8 billion, but just $246 million goes to Hispanic cable TV networks. Fusion seeks to change that ratio by targeting millennial Hispanics with hard news, news satire, sports and commentary in English. Marc Morse, senior VP-national broadcast at media agency RJ Palmer, said that although Hispanic viewers can be found in other places, marketers who dedicate time and money on programming specifically targeting the Hispanic market have a greater recall.

We are winking at Hispanic, but Fusion is not overtly Hispanic. If you’re not Hispanic, you won’t feel like the network isn’t for you.
–Catherine Sullivan, senior VP-ABC News Sales

 

REUTERSThe target demographic for the new English-language channel is several decades younger than the audiences for CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, which pull in viewers with a median age of 60 or higher, according to media research company Nielsen. The new channel will also test the market for TV news developed for Hispanics, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, but delivered in English rather than Spanish. Some of its programming will feature a heavy dose of humor, a bid for viewers who keep up with current events through shows like “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Fusion will turn to ABC reporters for news from around the world, and for special events such as election night coverage. The Disney team will handle ad sales and distribution for Fusion, bringing the ability to sell it to cable operators in a package with its popular sports channel, ESPN.

Fusion is hoping to cash in on advertisers’ awareness of the growing purchasing power of Hispanics, estimated to rise to $1.5 trillion by 2015 from $1 trillion in 2010, according to a 2012 study by Nielsen. Advertisers may still take some persuading to break with a long-held tradition of reaching Hispanics in Spanish.

The mantra of Spanish to reach Hispanics is still very strong. A lot of advertisers are afraid of trying to do it in English.
–Arturo Villar, publisher of Hispanic Market Weekly

 

MIAMI HERALD – Fusion offers a look at the challenges in pursuing Hispanic consumers, perhaps the hottest target in marketing today. The network scrapped the initial Latin identity after focus groups showed young Hispanics were put off by the idea of a television channel centered on their ethnicity, said Isaac Lee, head of news at Univision and CEO of Fusion. Univision’s anchor Jorge Ramos (55) was an obvious choice for Univision’s original concept, but the rest of the line-up captures Fusion’s unconventional approach to news and talk: an animated satire show, comedians taking on sports, a puppet talk show, and an evening program on sex and politics.

Fusion’s broader demographic makes for complicated marketing, since Lee and others say young Hispanics remain their primary target. “Imagine if you are doing archery,” Lee said. “The bull’s-eye, the red dot, is still an Hispanic. But the whole target is not just the red dot.”

The only way to reach [Hispanic millennials] is to provide fantastic content, and to include them.
–Isaac Lee, CEO, Fusion

 

FRANCE 24 (AFP) – Fusion touts itself as a channel aimed at “a young, diverse and inclusive America” and said it would offer “a unique mix of smart and irreverent original reporting, lifestyle and comedic content.” Fusion’s CEO Isaac Lee said that over 80 percent of millennials sleep with their phones next to their beds every night because they don’t want to miss a beat, so the new channel will try to respond to their media consumption needs.

We want to be the ones [young Hispanic millennials] wake up with. This beta site will help lay the building blocks as we continue to develop our digital properties.
–Isaac Lee, CEO, Fusion

 

The much anticipated launch of Fusion is today. The  cable channel  joint venture from ABC-Univision will click off with exclusive Interview with President Obama. The new channel will launch in millions of households nationwide. Six of the nation’s biggest cable distributors have already agreed to carry the network, including Cablevision, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber. The jury is still out on whether advertisers will be able to sustain the new network.

Barack ObamaFusion is launching today with an exclusive interview with President Obama airing during a special 7:00 p.m., ET edition of “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos.” . Fusion will launch in millions of households nationwide  as six major distributors have already agreed to carry the cable network including Cablevision, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber.

Fusion will launch at 6:57 p.m. EST.

Fusion — the news, pop culture, and satire tv and digital network from ABC News and Univision — will launch at 6:57 p.m. EST. The President will speak with Fusion White House Correspondent and ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jim Avila. The interview will take place Monday afternoon at the White House and air first on “AMERICA.” Portions of the interviews will also be highlighted across ABC News and Univision News broadcasts and platforms on Tuesday, October 29.

In addition, Jorge Ramos sits down with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for their first one-on-one interview. They discuss immigration reform, Cruz’s political future and Obamacare among other topics. Jorge Ramos also traveled to Arizona last month to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. While there he spent time with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The first portion of that report will also air on the inaugural edition of “AMERICA.”

Finally, Ramos will speak with Grammy-award winning artist Enrique Iglesias.”AMERICA with Jorge Ramos” airs weeknights at 5:00 and 8:00 p.m., EST on Fusion. Dax Tejera is the senior producer of the broadcast. Fusion is a news, pop culture and satire TV and digital network. It’s goal is  to engage  and champion a young, diverse, and inclusive America with a unique mix of smart and irreverent original reporting, lifestyle, and comedic content