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Rafael Urbina

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What: Discovery Communications announced an investment in and strategic partnership with digital media company Batanga Media.
Why it matters: This is the first investment of a major media company in Batanga Media. Discovery will now provide Batanga Media consumers with short-form video. Discovery will also gain access to Batanga’s’ millennial audience in the U.S. Hispanic and  Latin American markets. Traditionally off-line media companies like Discovery have  over the last few years made substantial investments in a new breed of digital media companies like Batanga Media.

Discovery Communications announced it has made an investment in and formed a strategic partnership with Batanga Media, the largest independent digital media and content company for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market. The amount of the investment and the size of Discovery’s stake was not disclosed.

Batanga Media is prominent across all platforms, having attained a monthly social reach of 215+ million, with an increasing fan base:
· 40+ million Facebook followers
· 90+ million uniques across Batanga Media’s owned-and-operated properties and social channels, which include: Vix, Batanga, iMujer,and Bolsa de Mulher
· 780+ million video views in November 2016
· 8+ billion social impressions in November 2016

More Viewers Across More Screens

Building on its long term strategy to engage more viewers across more screens than ever before, the deal will enable Discovery to give consumers improved access to a new and exciting range of Discovery content, attracting young passionate enthusiasts that advertisers want to reach, through Batanga Media’s strong base of millennial audiences.

batanga logoBatanga Media’s proven expertise in creating content that engages audiences across social and mobile platforms, will support Discovery’s efforts to super-serve its audiences throughout Latin America and enable advertisers the opportunity to reach their desired audience cross-platform via linear, digital and social. The new partnership will also allow Discovery to leverage Batanga Media’s data-driven content creation process.

 

Commercial Agreement

The partnership between Discovery and Batanga Media will include a commercial agreement that will enable advertisers to reach their desired audience via true 360 opportunities across linear, digital, and social platforms.

Enrique R. Martínez, President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Latin America/US discoveryHispanic highlighted this deal as the start of a strong new partnership with incredible brands, reach and scale. “Our investment in the largest independent digital content company in Latin America shows Discovery’s commitment to grow even further within the region, to build our presence across new platforms, and provide an unmatched service for superfans across all screens, engaging new audiences with best-in-class content and providing our advertisers unique branded content opportunities in a digital and social environment.”

Rafael Urbina, CEO, Batanga Media said “This is a winning scenario for us, allowing our company the opportunity to remain independent and build our own future, while at the same time, having the support of one of the best media and entertainment companies in the world. Together, we will have more influence; we will be better partners to our advertisers; and most importantly, we will be able to make an even bigger impact and continue to stay ahead of the market.”

Martinez and Michael Bremer, CFO & COO of Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic will be joining the Batanga Media Board. In addition to Discovery, Batanga Media’s other major investors include HarbourVest Partners, H.I.G. Ventures and Tudor Ventures.

The deal follows a US $ 100 million investment by Discovery in November, which led to the formation of Group Nine Media, one of the world’s largest digital first, social video companies, with brands including The Dodo, NowThis, Seeker and Thrillist.

Last week we asked major brand and agency executives about their plans and expectations for 2017. This week, we interviewed top media executives. Read about the priorities for Jeffery Liberman, COO, Entravision; Laura Molen, EVP Lifestyle and Hispanic Advertising Sales Group, NBCUniversal; Alberto Pardo, CEO, Adsmovil and Rafael Ubina, CEO, Batanga Media.

The 4 questions we asked:
1. Where will you be focusing your initiatives in 2017, where do you see the biggest opportunities? 
2.  What investments are needed to accomplish the above activities/goals?
3.How do your investments in technology and people for next year differ from those you made, say, 5 years ago.
4. What would you like to see more of from your agency and brand
marketing partners in 2017?

 

jeffery-liberman-photo

Jeffery Liberman, COO, Entravision

1.“In 2017, we plan on focusing our initiatives on mobile apps, integrated content leveraging Entravision’s radio talent with a vast audience reach and relevance, and programmatic elements with enhanced data enrichment.”
2. “We already have a deep roster of radio talent, so for mobile apps and integrated content, we want to execute as efficiently as possible with minimal investment. In 2016, we also made investments in programming so we hope to realize these benefits next year in 2017.”

3. “The investments in technology and people for next year differ significantly than the ones we made five years ago. Mobile apps were not as strong, our radio talent had yet to reach its full potential, and programmatic was not a solution back then. We don’t make investments in technology for the sake of technology. We make technology and solutions investments to provide an integrated omnichannel strategy for our clients.”

4. “For 2017, we would like to increase the opportunities to work with our partners on integrated digital content campaigns.”

mozilla_lauraLaura Molen, EVP Lifestyle and Hispanic Advertising Sales Group, NBCUniversal

1.  “We want to continue to educate the marketplace on the value of the entire NBCUniversal portfolio, particularly Telemundo where we are seeing significant momentum. Right now at weeknights at 10pm, Telemundo is the #1 Spanish-language network and #2 among all broadcast networks, regardless of language. We are investing in programming and live events like the World Cup so we can continue this momentum and growth. With the power of NBCU behind our brands, Telemundo Enterpises is primed for the future. We plan to find opportunity in reinforcing to marketers that we are the place for their messages and ad dollars to engage consumers.”

2. “We’re seeing an emphasis across our company in investment in content, data and distribution and this is going to be key as we continue to emphasize our leadership position.
It’s about taking the solid stream of premium content that our viewers crave, helping advertisers create innovative, targeted marketing campaigns and distributing this content in authentic ways that make sense across platforms.”

3. “We are continuing to invest in the data we can offer marketers to help them get an understanding of our audiences, and how to be the most effective with their ad spend. Our content is on the pulse of pop culture and the engagement we are seeing from our audiences not only for the programming, but for the advertisers associated with it, is surpassing our competition. We want to continue to build out the systems that quantify this for our brand partners. For our sales teams, it’s about helping them become experts on our robust infrastructure here at NBCUniversal.”

4. “To “lean in” and experiment with us in ways that they haven’t previously. We have some of the best teams in the business who are finding unique, authentic ways to partner our advertisers with our content. I’d love to see more companies engage with us from the beginning of a partnership and work with our teams to come up with more innovative campaigns.”

 

Alberto Pardo, CEO, Adsmovil

foto-banano1.“Keep working on our programmatic solution, better and bigger product. Viewability, transparency, and audiences are the main topics to focus. We also have a big Hispanic data audience project coming in early 2017 . On the other hand, we see a very big opportunity in video so we are working to get more scale both in outstream and in-stream video supply.”

2. “We are investing to build our own data audience solution from scratch. We also have plans to invest in people, more hires coming for 2017. Investment to get new tools for viewability. Marketing investments in major industry events.”

3.  “Five  years ago our investments were focused on ad units and ad servers.”

4. “More focus on U.S .Hispanics, we still see many brand without targeting latinos.”

 

batanga-0035

Rafael Urbina, CEO, Batanga Media

. “1.Video.  In 2016 we have greatly expanded our video production capabilities in the US and abroad and this has resulted in a rapid growth and massive scale in terms of video views and reach, now generating in excess of 700 million monthly video views across social platforms. We’ve been creating highly engaging video content for partners this year, and it only makes sense to expand our in-house video production capacity. We’ll keep studios in Miami and throughout Latin America to ensure the same cultural relevancy that our content has been known to display over the years. We are focused on offering our partners customizable yet turn-key branded video solutions informed by both data insights and production best practices to garner emotional connections with the multicultural millennial consumer at scale. We have positioned our newest brand Vix to power the social distribution of branded content. In 2017, we’re set to deliver billions of branded video views on Vix’s many social platforms.”

2.  “We have developed a world-class video and creative team to sharpen our organizational know-how in screen production. Overall, our product direction will be more video-focused for both editorial and branded content creation. We’re also investing on the latest video production technology, and building new and bigger studios. Part of our DNA is to be a data-driven publisher, keeping true to our roots, in 2017 we’ll intensify investments in data-science to continue to support growth of our video creation and distribution efforts.”

3.  “While producing content for mobile and social consumption continues to be important—and we have been advocating for those early on—the laser focus on video and branded content is a new development compared to five years ago. These came as a response to more efficient video technology paired with savvier users who increasingly reject ads that interrupt their experience. In addition, branching out from the solely Hispanic audience to cater to the increasingly more multicultural American audience via Vix is a natural progression for us a Millennial publisher.”

4. “We need to recognize that there are very diverse consumer segments in our country, and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to truly connecting and engaging with the so-called Total Market. In order to talk to every segment, in a way that is personal and resonates with them and their own realities, we must recognize that language-preferences may shift and acculturation progress, but the cultural distinctions between market segments, and what is important to those markets, are as great as ever. Leading brands understand that, but many marketers still fall prey to the idea that reaching the “Total Market” will connect and engage multicultural Americans, and it simply does not.”

 

CHECK OUT: Where Dunkin’ Donuts, Moet Hennessy, Zenith Media, MBMG and D’Exposito Will be Investing in 2017.

 

Join us at PORTADA Mexico!

What: Batanga Media is allocating more resources to its content offerings, particularly to expand its Portuguese brands to the rest of Latin America, primarily Mexico and Argentina. Batanga Media is also spinning off its Performance Advertising Business into a new unit called Groovit Digital.
Why it matters: As Batanga Media CEO Rafael Urbina tells Portada, “It is now our owned and operated inventory that is the key business opportunity in the region.”

Batanga Media LogoBatanga Media is expanding its content offerings to Spanish-speaking Latin America.“The idea is to expand the content-first strategy into the rest of Latin America. iMujer.com and Batanga.com continue to be the media properties and the markets are primarily Mexico and Argentina,” Batanga CEO Rafael Urbina tells Portada. Additionally, a Portuguese version of Batanga.com will be launched in Q1 2015.

“With the growth of our owned and operated properties in the region, it is now our owned and operated inventory that is the key business opportunity in the region,’ Batanga Media’s Urbina tells Portada. With the reorganization, Alexandre Jordao, currently General Manager of Brazil, will be taking on an expanded role, overseeing all of the company’s Latin American business out  Media’s Sao Paulo office as EVP/GM of Latin America.

Mexico and Argentina will be key markets for the new content offerings.

“Since our acquisition of Bolsa De Mulher, this content-first model has yielded extraordinary results for us in Brazil, where we have grown our audience three-fold and are seeing strong revenue growth as a result, says Alexandre Jordao, EVP/GM of Latin America for Batanga Media. “We are now poised to execute the same strategy across the rest of Latin America with the audience growth that we have achieved through iMujer and Batanga.com,” adds Batanga Media CEO Rafael Urbina.

“On both iMujer.com and Batanga.com, we will be adding to the content offerings. On iMujer we are working on adding local content features in each of the key markets, as well as adding new finance and career content. As for Batanga.com, the content team has been working on launching an array on new categories including, tech, celebrity and general entertainment content. Since its launch in 1999, Batanga.com has strived to deliver Latin music and entertainment content that is above all authentic and rich with Latin culture. As the property’s audience grows and we invest heavily in additional content, authenticity and Latin American culture continues to be key,” says Urbina.

The reorganization comes at a time when Batanga Media is shifting more resources to its core content brands, Batanga.com, iMujer.com, and BolsadeMulher.com. Combined, they have grown over 100% in the past twelve months, thanks to mobile and social distribution fueled by Batanga Media’s over 13 million Facebook fans and with these steps the Company’s sales organization will be better aligned to monetize this growing reach.

In 2015, Batanga Media will launch Batanga Entertainment product in Brazil, introduce more content categories across all its properties and expand video, branded content, and more mobile app offerings. This combination of fast-growing mobile and social properties, growing video product, and a powerful branded content solution positions the company for even larger growth in 2015 and beyond.

Spinning off Performance Unit

Rafael Urbina, CEO, Batanga Media
Rafael Urbina, CEO, Batanga Media

Batanga is also reorganizing its business units. Effective immediately, the formerly known Batanga Performance will become Groovit Digital. Groovit Digital will incorporate all of the company’s performance network business, most of which was acquired in 2011 from Adfunky. Overseeing Groovit Digital will be Augusto Valente, Groovit Digital’s extensive inventory of well over 10 billion monthly ad impressions will continue to be accessible through AppNexus seat #1800.
Batanga Performance, the new Groovit Digital is not to be confused with Batanga Network. Rafael Urbina, CEO of Batanga Media, tells Portada that “about 16 months ago we began the process of transferring all of our inventory, both on our properties and on the Batanga Network to a new platform that would allow our advertisers to connect programmatically. In doing so, Batanga Network became the Batanga Media Exchange (BMX) and the inventory from AdFunky became Batanga Performance. Therefore the piece being spun-off is not Batanga Network, now known as Batanga Media Exchange.”

“Our new organizational structure will allow us to invest more in content, having over half of our workforce dedicated to creating content and the technology that supports it, said Rafael Urbina, CEO of Batanga Media. “This will also allow us to invest more into building our brands in key markets and driving even faster audience growth.”

Read related article: Is the Pendulum swinging back to Content?

What: Batanga is reorganizing its business by spinning off its Performance Ad Network to be called Groovit Digital and allocating more resources to its core content brands. These brands, which include Batanga.com and imujer.com, will expand into new content categories such as Finance, Career, Tech and Entertainment in the U.S. Hispanic market and Spanish-speaking Latin America.
Why it matters: The reorganization shows Batanga’s new focus on its core digital content brands reaching 40 million global unique visitors. The spinning off of the performance ad network reflects the increasing importance of programmatic sales.

batanga logoBatanga is reorganizing its business units. Effective immediately, the formerly known Batanga Performance will become Groovit Digital. Groovit Digital will incorporate all of the company’s performance network business, most of which was acquired in 2011 from AdFunky . Overseeing Groovit Digital will be Augusto Valente, Groovit Digital’s extensive inventory of well over 10 billion monthly ad impressions will continue to be accessible through AppNexus seat #1800.

Batanga Performance, the new Groovit Digital is not to be confused with Batanga Network. Rafael Urbina, CEO of Batanga Media, tells Portada: “About 16 months ago we began the process of transferring our entire inventory, both on our properties and on the Batanga Network to a new platform that would allow our advertisers to connect programmatically. In doing so, Batanga Network became the Batanga Media Exchange (BMX) and the inventory from AdFunky became Batanga Performance. Therefore the piece being spun-off is not Batanga Network, now known as Batanga Media Exchange.”

Expanded U.S. Hispanic Content offerings

Rafael Urbina, CEO, Batanga Media
Rafael Urbina, CEO, Batanga Media

The reorganization comes at a time when Batanga Media is shifting more resources to its core content brands, Batanga.com, iMujer.com, and BolsadeMulher.com (Brazil). Urbina tells Portada that Batanga is going to expand its content offerings for the U.S. Hispanic market. “On both iMujer.com and Batanga.com, we will be adding to the content offerings. On iMujer we are working on adding local content features in each of the key markets, as well as adding new finance and career content. As for Batanga.com, the content team has been working on launching an array of new categories including, tech, celebrity and general entertainment content. Since its launch in 1999, Batanga.com has strived to deliver Latin music and entertainment content that is above all authentic and rich with Latin culture. As the property’s audience grows and we invest heavily in additional content, authenticity and Latin culture continues to be key.”

On iMujer.com we are working on adding new finance and career content. As for Batanga.com, the content team has been working on launching tech, celebrity and general entertainment content.

In 2015, Batanga Media will launch a new Batanga Entertainment product in Brazil, introduce more content categories across all its properties and expand video, branded content, and more mobile app offerings. According to Urbina, this combination of fast-growing mobile and social properties, growing video product, and a powerful branded content solution positions the company for even larger growth in 2015 and beyond.

Is the Pendulum swinging back to Content?

Batanga initially comprehended a number of digital media properties (and a few print mags targeting the college market that were later folded), then several online ad networks were acquired starting in 2008 and in 2011 major mostly LatAm oriented ad networks AdFunky and I-Network were bought. Is the pendulum now shifting back to more emphasis on owned and operated media and content? Not necessarily, says Batanga CEO Rafael Urbina: “The digital media landscape is continuously evolving. We at Batanga Media pride ourselves in being able to adapt and implement new technologies and business models. Our third-party business continues to be a significant and strategic component of our overall business, even as we focus more resources into content development. We acquired several networks in order to gain a footprint that would allow us to sell both third-party inventory and O&O content. As you recall, shortly after making the Adfunky and iNetwork acquisitions, we also acquired Crovat and Bolsa de Mulher. The difference today, is that more of our third-party inventory is being sold through programmatic channels throughout the region (U.S. and Latin America).”

We are looking at these relationships more and more as potential partnerships for distribution of our branded content platform.

Asked whether this evolution means that Batanga is not going to sell premium advertising for third parties anymore, Urbina notes that ” No, we are still going to maintain the relationships with key third-party publishers and selling it under the Batanga Media Exchange. We are also looking at these relationships more and more as potential partnerships for distribution of our branded content platform.”

Data is more valued than hard cash in the age of Real Time Audience Measurement . Both in the digital and the offline world (e.g. see the concept of addressable TV advertising).  But what data should brand marketers, clients and media believe in? In other words, where are the data auditors? That is where ComsScore’s just announced partnership with Acxiom, Epsilon and Batanga Media comes in. The objective of the partnership is to enhance the granularity and speed of delivering audience reporting. The partnership also underlines the importance of the U.S. Hispanic market.

Data
Photo: Neerav Bhatt. Creative Commons.

Google and  ComScore recently signed a partnership  to offer cross screen audience metrics to brands for its validated campaign essentials product (VcE). In addition,  this week ComScore announced  partnerships with Epsilon, Batanga Media and Axciom , through which these companies will provide data that goes into the model ComScore uses for VcE.

Anne Hunter, SVP Global Marketing Strategy at comScore in New York City tells Portada that  “ComScore’s validated Campaign essentials play the role of a neutral third-party quality assessor, sort of like an independent audit. VcE’s are used in-flight for campaigns and tell publishers, agencies and brand marketers who is actually seeing a campaign” in terms of the demographics and behaviour of users (although not regarding their personal information).

It is an important market. Clients and publishers need to have the tools to make sure they are reaching the Hispanic audience they intend to target.

The fact that Batanga Media has been included as a ComScore partner for VcE at a relatively early stage stresses the importance of the U.S. Hispanic digital media market.  “It is an important market, and clients and publishers need to have the tools to make sure they are reaching the audience they intend to target,” says Hunter. Rafael Urbina, CEO of Batanga Media agrees:  “Batanga Media’s partnership with comScore as a data provider reflects both companies’ commitment to further evolve the Hispanic digital space.”

ComScore’s Hunter adds that the data Batanga Media provides is for the U.S. Hispanic market only (not Latin America) and that it is propietary ethnicity data ie.  demographic data about its users, census data level which is then cross-referenced with a cookie data set in the VcE model. VcE  is sold by ComScore directly or  to advertisers/agencies and publishers who use the Doubleclick adsever  and other ad servers  (subscriber requests it from their adservers). By partnering with ComScore companies like Batanga Media, Epsilon and Axciom gain a deeper understanding of the data they have. Depending on the agreement with  ComScore the provider furnishes the data to ComScore exclusively or not.

What: Batanga Media is introducing a private ad exchange for the U.S. Hispanic market.  Batanga Media Exchange (BMX) will be based on programmatic trading and give access to key client and agency partners. The exchange will trade desktop display and video as well as mobile ad units.  A similar exchange for Latin America is in the works.
Why it matters: An increasing amount of publishers is restricting access to premium inventory by creating private ad exchanges.  Those that can combine their own substantial  inventory with a select network of third-party publishers, like Batanga Media,  have more chances to succeed.

Batanga Media is introducing a new programmatic private exchange, named Batanga Media Exchange (BMX). The new BMX private exchange was developed to run on a programmatic platform and comprises  Hispanic web and mobile properties, including Batanga.com, iMujer.com, Batanga Radio App and the iMujer Gourmet App, as well as inventory from select premium Hispanic content publishing partners. “Announcements about additional premium publishers will be coming shortly, however we can say that our existing network publishers are part of BMX,” Rafael Urbina, CEO of Batanga Media tells Portada.  Hector Brignone, Vice President Ad Operations will run BMX.

BMX will utilize proprietary data and intelligence to identify and deliver a qualified, automated U.S. Hispanic audience in real-time.
Data collection and refinement are key to BMX, Urbina notes:.”We are generating behavioral and demographic clusters based on our first party-data,” he says.

As BMX is a private exchange, client (agencies and brand marketers) access to BMX will be approved on a case by case basis. Through private exchanges publishers and online ad networks can control buyer access to private inventory. Accepted buyers will be able access BMX  inventory programmatically through the AppNexus platform or by establishing a connection to BMX directly. The exchange is based on programmatic trading. “BMX is a programmatic product, but we offer managed services for buyers that are not 100%prepared to do RTB. Additionally, we will be rolling out programmatic-reserved inventory for premium guaranteed buys”, Urbina notes. Programmatic digital advertising trading is growing in leaps and bounds, particularly in the general market.  Analysts claim that in the Hispanic market there is still some catch-up potential for programmatic trading.  Urbina predicts that at a normalized level Hispanic will be similar to the general market: “I believe that over half of all ads will be bought this way in the not too distant future.”

I believe that over half of all Hispanic ads will be bought via programmatic in the not too distant future.

Mobile and Video

ALEMANIA TECNOLOGÍADisplay mobile units will be available through the BMX exchange. Exchanges do have more difficulty to capture mobile advertising data. As Urbina says, “within mobile the real challenge is to obtain third-party data. However, we do have plenty of first-party data to draw from.” BMX will also have desktop video advertising inventory available. Online video is growing at a very high rate in the Hispanic market and general market. According to Urbina, ” Growth for overall video is higher than display, but lower than mobile. CPMs are significantly higher for video.”

An increasing amount of media properties are creating private exchanges (e.g. see NewCorp) as a way to organize their  ad sales and only give key clients access to their premium inventory. Because of the high demand for public ad exchanges Supply side platform Pubmatic recently announced that it will hire 100 additional staffers to meet its clients growing demand for private ad exchanges. Last year Orange Advertising Network introduced a private exchange for the U.S. Hispanic market.