Mundial Sports Network


Habib Khoury is the CEO of MASS Exchange, a revolutionary platform that could be described as a futures market for buyers and sellers of media. We sat down with him to discuss MASS Exchange’s partnership with Mundial Sports Network, a leading Latino sports network with magazines like Futbol and Beisbol as well as digital properties like VidaLatina.com, FutbolMundial.com, BeisbolMundial.com and BoxeoMundial.com, and how his company applies a financial model to a complex industry plagued by a lack of transparency (Partner Message).

Providing A Transparent Solution to Publisher’s Challenges

Digital publishers face significant challenges when trying to sell

Habib Khoury, CEO, MASS Exchange
Habib Khoury, CEO, MASS Exchange

their inventory in programmatic marketplaces. They defend against fraudulent traffic which creates significant oversupply; they defend against other publishers that are willing to sell anything at pennies; they defend against buyers who know much more than they do about their audiences and dictate terms; they defend against technology intermediaries that extract too much value for handling a transaction; and they defend against having to bear the costs of the ever increasing complexity of the technology associated with participating in programmatic markets. “All of these pressures keep driving down publisher revenues while increasing their costs,” Khoury adds. “Unlike in other markets like Europe, digital publishers have not been effective at organizing themselves into large selling groups to aggregate audiences and increase their pricing power vis a vis buyers and share the costs of technology.”

MASS Exchange provides publishers like Mundial with tools to help them act as a virtual selling group and seamlessly manage inventory they sell from their owned and operated sites and inventory they sell (or could sell) on behalf of their syndicated partners. In addition, MASS Exchange’s marketplace seeks to transform how buyers and sellers interact by enabling them to transact in a transparent, price-discovered, and balanced programmatic futures marketplace.

MASS Exchange is the first to implement in programmatic media a market model inspired by finance, which is based on what is called a “price discovered market.

Khoury explains: “MASS Exchange is the first to implement in programmatic media a market model inspired by finance, which is based on what is called a ‘price discovered market.'” In this market model, buyers and sellers retain full control over every aspect of the trade, including transparency. Product packages, prices and transaction rules are set by the buyer in the form of buy-orders, and the seller in the form of sell-orders. “MASS Exchange’s matching engine matches buy-orders to sell-orders based on the rules set by each party, which means that supply and demand can be optimized for both sides. If either the buyer or seller is unhappy with the value of a trade, a match does not take place. The platform is flexible and supports one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many deals.” Again, a win-win for buyers and sellers.

The Current “Open Market” in Programmatic is Broken 

MASS Exchange is essentially providing a transparent alternative to what Khoury believes is a broken programmatic market. Due to a lack of transparency and price discovered market today, sellers do not know how much the buyer, which is ultimately the brand, values or pays for their inventory in current open programmatic markets.

Khoury gives us an example: “Imagine that in order to reach a specific set of audiences through their agency, Nike spends $10 and the agency buys $10 on behalf of Nike programmatically, only $3.50 goes to buy the actual media. The rest ($6.50, which includes the agency fee of $1) is consumed by the multitude of intermediaries that handle the transaction and sit between the buyer and the seller,” he explains. “In addition, Nike has no idea who they are buying from or which intermediary is shaving what amount from their media spend. This is a broken business model. By comparison, in financial services each transaction costs a fraction of a penny to transact over an exchange, and buyers and sellers have full transparency.”

Khoury elaborates: “On the other hand, if one takes that same Nike example and applies it to MASS Exchange’s market, that $10 in media spend would buy $8 in media (versus $3.50), and the $2 balance would be split in a transparent manner between the agency and MASS. We created MASS Exchange as a transparent marketplace (a real exchange) that can expose inventory packages and prices to buyers and sellers so that all parties can have a better understand of the values traded.”

In MASS Exchange, buyers and the sellers control the level of opacity they each require to maximize their trading strategies. Transparency, or the lack thereof (i.e. opacity), is not imposed upon them arbitrarily by market intermediaries. We help both sides win.

Khoury adds: “In MASS Exchange, buyers and the sellers control the level of opacity they each require to maximize their trading strategies. Transparency, or the lack thereof (i.e. opacity), is not imposed upon them arbitrarily by market intermediaries. We help both sides win.”

“What We Trade Is Complex” 

“Buying and selling media is more complicated than buying and selling coffee,” Khoury says. “With coffee, you trade based on the quality of the grain, the price and the time of delivery. With media, you have to trade for the right message, to the right person, at the right place, at the right time, using the right metric. And in order to increase the probability that an advertising message will be effectively consumed, it must be done within the right context,” he continues.

“If you’re in the market for a car and receive a brand message sitting in the grocery line, chances are good that you will ignore it. But if you are browsing a car site you like, you are much more likely to be receptive to such an ad message.” Context is integral to the publishers’ brand identities and current “open market” programmatic environments do not support the notion of context. MASS Exchange is the only programmatic marketplace that values a publisher’s brand, like Mundial’s, by assigning a tradable value to that brand/context.

“MASS Exchange is the only marketplace that breaks out the inventory bought and sold into two prices: one price for the audience, and one price for the placement/context,” says Khoury. Like in real estate, in which there is a price for the building as well as the land, when added together, you have the total price or value of the inventory. In this analogy, each audience is “akin to the value of the building absent the land it sits on,” and “should have the same value to a brand regardless of where you consume their add.” The placement or context of that ad is where the premium exists, as someone who is on the market for a car will be much more likely to convert on a Toyota site.

Since publishers need to make sure that their brand and content attracts its target audiences, those that do a better job of this should be able to “charge a premium for that value in programmatic markets, especially when they can sell their inventory to buyers directly over the phones” through MASS. So the placement/context value is similar to the value of the land. “The ability to charge separately for context in any programmatic market only exists in MASS Exchange,” Khoury says.

Bringing Buyers and Sellers Together Transparently

“The absence of more transparent marketplaces and clear performance metrics on both sides of the trade insures that many of these problems will not go away any time soon. And while brands have started to demand more transparency in how their ad dollars are spent, the agencies and programmatic intermediaries’ responses have been halfhearted at best,” Khoury laments. “This means that open programmatic marketplaces are likely to remain structurally opaque, buyers will continue to be suspect of the values they receive from publishers and sellers will continue to see downward pressure on their inventory/audience values.”

“Humans have a hard time managing complexity at scale,” Khoury says. “Our belief was that the financial services had already solved for the financial engineering challenges that come with trading complex assets like media and advertising.” MASS Exchange is, indeed an exchange, but it is “retrofitted to support the unique challenges we have in our industry.”

MASS Exchange Perfect for Publisher like Mundial Sports Network

Khoury sees MASS as a perfect fit for a publisher like Mundial for several reasons: MASS Exchange’s sell-side tool (Liquid™) curates and optimizes inventory for sale at scale before anything is exposed to the market, helping customers like Mundial manage the ever increasing complexities of programmatic trading. Liquid™ enables Mundial to organize, package, price and optimize everything they have to sell, so that “no value is left on the table,” says Kyle Harris, EVP at The Mundial Group.

“Liquid™ makes it possible for Mundial to buy inventory from syndicated partners and resell that inventory to brands and agencies, virtually extending their audience reach (i.e. more to sell) and simplifying tracking and management on one platform. And when Mundial is ready to trade, MASS Exchange’s marketplace makes it easy for Mundial to sell programmatically its most valuable assets, which today it has to trade manually over the phone in order to get the best prices/values,” Harris continues.

Bottom line: “MASS Exchange provides Mundial with a unified platform to maximize its revenues from any channel, programmatic or otherwise, while maintaining full control and transparency over how, when, to whom and at what values their inventory is traded,” says Khoury.

What is clear is that if the programmatic model must change, Khoury is one of the first to apply this type of financial approach to the media industry in an attempt to increase transparency and control in highly complex trading. Luckily, Mundial Network was happy to put his theory to the test.

Mundial Sports Network, a leading Latino sports network with magazines like Futbol and Beisbol as well as digital properties like VidaLatina.comFutbolMundial.com, BeisbolMundial.com and BoxeoMundial.com, and YipTV, a live Internet TV platform that specializes in providing affordable, real-time content for Latinos, have a common goal: connecting underserved Hispanic audiences with the content they want. Out of this objective emerged a unique partnership grounded in a marketing strategy based on both digital campaigns and grass-roots efforts. We talk to Michael Tribolet, CEO of YipTV, about how this collaboration “elevates” both of their marketing efforts.

Reaching Underserved Hispanic Audiences

Michael Tribolet, CEO of YipTV
Michael Tribolet, CEO of YipTV

Mundial and YipTV’s collaboration started out of a need to find innovative ways to reach and serve Hispanic audiences who have often been abused by service providers. Latinos who want to watch their favorite sports, entertainment and news programs from back home have limited options, as many of them do not have credit cards to subscribe to OTT services, but can’t afford to pay for cable, either. After investing in YipTV, Mundial took it a step further and came up with a plan to work together toward their shared objectives.

Mundial has developed content for the same Latino through its free magazines and website for Latino boxing fans. Beisbol and Futbol magazines are distributed at local Florida bodegas, small community grocery stores, for free, generating a powerful and attractive reach into Latino audiences.

And West Palm Beach-based  YipTV has also found a place in local Florida bodegas. The platform wants Hispanics to be able to watch the content they want regardless of their status with a bank. To avoid the credit card issue, YipTV offers the option to pay for subscriptions in cash in over 16,000 Florida bodegas. New users can try 55 out of their 110 channels for free for the first week, and then the user has the option of paying $15 a month for the full programming or forgoing a subscription to access 15 free channels that cover sports, news and entertainment.

The deal is refreshing for Hispanic viewers who are used to being charged for links to see their favorite football tournaments or telenovelas, only to find that the links are broken or that the entire deal was a scam. They are understandably skeptical, and earning their trust and loyalty is no easy task.

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YipTV Attracted to Mundial’s Unique and Targeted Reach

Mundial has created a habit out of creating partnerships that put their assets to the service of new ventures or platforms whose objectives align with theirs. Over the recent years, the network has incorporated powerful targeting and data analysis and segmenting platforms into its toolbox and built an in-house creative team that they can leverage for platforms like YipTV in exchange for promotion and ad space on its platforms.

Their publications along with our advertisement and marketing efforts allow us to rise the tides together rather than separately.  While Mundial helps inform the customers with information on what is going on, YipTV is providing the service to watch what they are talking about.

The deal with bodegas is also huge, since it affords them a way to “zoom into small ecosystems” like large cable companies cannot. “Mundial has a tremendous amount of experience in the Hispanic Market segment, not only here in the USA but on a global basis,” Tribolet asserts. The collaboration makes sense, because “the online and offline publications touched the very customers that we are targeting.”

Tribolet went on to explain that they are targeting Latinos that want a very specific mix of content. His wife, for example, was born in Cuba, and moved to the United States as an exclusively Spanish speaker. Now she’s fully acculturated, and in a sense, considers both English and Spanish her native languages. This is typical of today’s Latino: they want a mix of content that reminds them of home but speaks to their experiences as Hispanics in the United States, specifically.

The Bodega: A “Small Ecosystem” and Home Away from Home

Tribolet points to bodegas as “a big part of the un-bankable ecosystem” that they make use of as their bank, grocery store, and most importantly community updates.”

YipTV only began accepting payments at bodegas a month ago, but part of its strategy is to make these “great reference centers for what is going on in their community” central to marketing campaigns, sending actual staff to talk to people while conducting other standard marketing exercises like monitoring social media conversations about YipTV’s offerings. And knowing that their ads appear in Mundial’s free magazines, which fly off the shelves, they are sure to connect with the Hispanic sports fan.

In the end, Tribolet is certain that this type of collaboration is innovative and effective because  YipTV and Mundial Network “both have the same customer base with complimentary services.”

“Their publications along with our advertisement and marketing efforts allow us to rise the tides together rather than separately.  While Mundial helps inform the customers with information on what is going on, YipTV is providing the service to watch what they are talking about,” Tribolet asserts.

Join us at PORTADA Mexico!

There were many news last week at the NewFronts, the weeklong series of presentations from digital content powerhouses in New York City.  The focus on Spanish-speaking consumers was particularly, and somewhat surprisingly, strong.  Below a roundup.

      • CNET to introduce Spanish-language version
        CBS Interactive (CBSi) plans to introduce a version of CNET for Spanish-speaking consumers in the fall. Jim Lanzone, president of CBSi, said he wants to offer unique digital content for a Spanish-speaking audience of 50 million in the U.S., with more in Latin America and across the globe. The Spanish-language version of CNET “will not just be a machine translating our English content into Spanish,” Lanzone said, “[it] will be its own distinct site.” CBSi is also working on a Spanish-language version of GameSpot.


      • Hulu Latino
        NewfrontsHulu announced  “East Los High” , the first English-language drama series produced by Hulu that specifically targets Hispanic audiences.   “East Los High”will  join the ten other Hulu Original Series and Hulu Exclusive Series that will be premiering as part of Hulu’s Summer Slate 2013,According to Hulu, “Dance, sex, romance and mystery are at the heart of this inner city school in East L.A. where two teenage cousins, Jessie, a 16-year-old virgin, and Maya, a troubled runaway with a violent past, fall in love with Jacob, a popular football player.  With this forbidden love triangle, Maya, Jessie and Jacob, along with their close friends, must face true-to-life decisions throughout a turbulent year that will mark their lives forever. A Hulu Exclusive Series, “East Los High” features an all Latino cast, director, writers and creators—many hailing from East L.A. More than 15 leading public health organizations such as Advocates for Youth, Voto Latino, California Family Health Council and Legacy LA, among others, advised on the scripts and content to address teen issues related to relationships and sexuality in a meaningful way.


      • NBC Universal Telemundo
        NBCUniversal’s Telemundo announced a partnership with The Weather Company to tailor weather coverage to a Hispanic audience. Telemundo hopes to increase interaction between its broadcasts and social media by partnering with Zeebox, a second-screen viewing app for tablets and smartphones.


      • Mundial Sports Network
        The Mundial Sports Network, a digital network catering to the U.S. Hispanic sports fans announced expanded digital video and branded content offerings at its New York City NewFront presentation. The network is offering branded audio content to advertisers through digital radio.


      •  Univision
        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.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.

        Join us at PORTADA Mexico!