What: VOXXI is partnering with Interactive One, which will have the exclusive sales representation of its inventory. Both companies will also develop new digital media content.
Why it matters: This is the first time that two media organizations catering to the two largest minorities (Hispanics and  African-Americans)  form a sales, marketing and content partnership.

VOXXI, an independent English language website for U.S. Latinos, is partnering with urban media company Interactive ONE (IONE) to develop new programming, product and other digital services to capture the U.S. Hispanic and multicultural markets. The partnership also involves marketing and sales support, leveraging Interactive One’s sales force and VOXXI’s market expertise. Emilio Sanchez, CEO and Editor in Chief of VOXXI, tells Portada that “Interactive ONE has the exclusive sales representation of our sites and our inventory will be included in the portfolio of the  Interactive ONE sales force.” The agreement also includes VOXXI’s health site Saludify. According to Sanchez, VOXXI will continue to have a sales team that will work closely with IONE. We are going to join forces and use our expertise of the Latino Market to increase our presence around the country. IONE will allow us to increase our reach and opportunities to get more revenues. Of course, we will continue our mission to produce relevant content for our audience. We will be sure that we respond to the needs of the US Latinos and the multicultural US population attracted to Hispanic culture. Finding the right tone with a very talented team is a key part of our vision to define and defend the identity of a vibrant community.”

Interactive ONE, a unit of Radio One, owns more than 60 online media brands, mostly in the African-American and urban markets.IONE’s portfolio also includes  Hispanic lifestyle site ZonadeSabor.com and Latino social networking site Migente.com.

“Interactive One is pleased to join forces with VOXXI to help inform such a critical segment of the nation’s New Urban population,” said Tom Newman, President of Interactive One. “VOXXI and Saludify are vital sources of information for U.S. Latinos, and we are looking forward to helping them grow stronger and prosper.”

Latinos are changing and increasing their influence in America and we will fill the tremendous void in the mainstream media, which portrays Latinos stereotypically and superficially.

In addition to VOXXI and Saludify, Interactive One Studios’ roster of partners includes Russell Simmons’ GlobalGrind.com, NBC News’ theGrio.com, Tom Joyner’s BlackAmericaWeb.com and more than 50 Radio One radio station sites across the U.S.

No Editorial Integration

“We are not planning any kind of integration with either sites, but of course we can establish a strong cooperation for the mutual benefit,” Sanchez says. ” We can promote our content into the several sites owned by IONE to increase our traffic and presence. We will continue defending our audience; Latinos are changing and increasing their influence in America and we will fill the tremendous void in the mainstream media, which portrays Latinos stereotypically and superficially.Our goal is to produce as much multimedia content as possible, audio or video. In fact, very soon we will be increasing our own original video production to have our content in multiple formats.”

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A midmorning panel at the Latin Content Marketing Forum included two journalists and a marketer (Ford) who came together to talk about the role of the journalists in the age of content marketing. Moderated by NAMIC’s President & CEO Nicole Turner-Lee, the panel featured Fusion’s Managing Editor and Features Editor Nuria Net, Alberto Collazo, Ford Communications, and Emilio Sanchez, President and Editor in Chief of VOXXI.

Both journalists, Net and Sánchez agreed on the changes going on in the market and how reporters and editors can coexist with brand marketing… As long as it is creative, and creates an actually conversation with their audience.

“Five years ago I would have been totally against [content marketing,]” said Net, one of the first hires and pioneers of Fusion, the ABC News/Univision network scheduled to launch later this year. “But now, you have websites like BuzzFeed, which are using content marketing in very smart ways and realize everybody wins. The brands win, media companies win, and consumers win, because it is valuable information.”

Alberto Collazo, responsible for Hispanic communications in the U.S., chimed in to talk about the importance of journalists and bloggers for a brand like Ford, which strives to connect with U.S. Latinos. It is difficult, he acknowledges, because they have to walk a fine line but in the end it’s all about the content.

Content marketing also calls for a radical change in which editors view content, and do away with the conventional ways of doing things in the past. Sanchez, a former director of news for EFE, recalled the case of a young VOXXI reporter, who said wanted to voice his opinion in stories and didn’t really know what the AP Stylebook was or why he even needed to know that.

Overall, though, panelists agreed that the times are changing and journalists must adapt and in some cases work alongside a brand to produce compelling content, which in turn will be beneficial for such a brand.

“There is no longer shame in going to the dark side,” said Net. “We have now more resources and can do a very good job.” But, she had a piece of advice for marketers: “We are journalists, we are here to inform not to sell. Don’t make me write a review of your product and pay me for it.”

Voxxi, the site targeting bicultural Latinos, is introducing a new health site called Saludify.com. The site is designed to provide Latinos with daily news and content to live a better life and improve their health.  “With this new site we show our commitment to catapulting Latino health issues to the forefront of American dialogue. Saludify is another building block in our strategy to serve Latino interests in specific niches,” Emilio C. Sanchez, president of La VOX Media Group, parent company of Saludify and Voxxi, tells Portada. Saludify has tapped a network of Latino health and fitness experts and bloggers to cover important topics.

The competition between digital media properties targeting bicultural Hispanics is fierce and Voxxi is going to

Emilio Sanchez, President and Founder, Voxxi
Emilio Sanchez, President and Founder, Voxxi

differentiate itself by introducing sites that target different verticals, Sanchez says. “We are adopting a vertical strategy and will be launching targeted niche sites to offer advertisers very desirable audiences,” says Sanchez.  Voxxi’s reality is the one of most digital media properties: Banner ads are mostly sold by online Ad Networks at relatively low CPMs . So publishers need to innovate and offer advertisers programs incorporating Content Marketing elements (branded content, editorial, app sponsorships etc.).  will be introducing vertical sites targeting Business and Education over the next year. These verticals will be fed with evergreen content and how-to articles. Voxxi.com will be the umbrella site for these verticals. Sanchez adds that to produce more local content is another strategy going forward. “We are thinking about producing more local content to target Hispanics in the top markets of California, New York,, Florida, Texas and Illinois.”

Publishers need to innovate and offer advertisers programs with Content Marketing elements like branded content, advertorial, app sponsorships etc…

Content Syndication

Sanchez thinks that another revenue stream can be found in producing Hispanic specific English-language content and syndicate it to English-language media properties. Voxxi had traffic of 500,000 unique users/month during the last months of 2012.

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