What’s Eric Turpin‘s goal at NATPE this year? The new General Manager of the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) is on the hunt for edutainment content for the independent U.S. Spanish-language net’s lineup. Before he headed to Miami, Turpin talked to Cynopsis about how new programming – and digital – are the keys to success in 2016.
What are the main challenges in the current TV ecosystem?
There are three: Staying relevant in the digital age, differentiation in programming that keeps our content fresh and positioning the network to distributors to continue to show our programming and positioning and price has value.
How has your business model evolved over the years?
When HITN first came to the market, we were very focused on educational and political content. We quickly discovered there was an untapped market in offering all kinds of content which celebrates the rich and diverse Hispanic culture while at the same time offering educational and other alternative programming. With the addition of our new programming and emerging digital strategy, HITN is poised to have its best year ever in 2016. With this stated, our mission remains unchanged: we will offer the best in programming that educates and entertains our audience with beautiful images celebrating Hispanic culture in the United States and around the world. Locally we will work with our talent and distributors to showcase HITN and the unique programming we offer.
What is your OTT strategy?
HITN is developing an aggressive OTT strategy and we will be announcing it very soon. We have content that is very relevant for our audiences and that is very VOD friendly. During 2016 we will launch our own OTT platform and it will be a very strong offering for the Hispanic Community.
Last year the network expanded its programming slate, closing several agreements with Discovery for factual content and with BBC for kids’ content. Are you planning new content agreements with for 2016? What is your vision behind these agreements?
The programming acquisitions that we completed at the end of 2015 from Discovery, BBC, AMC and others are actually premiering now during the first quarter of 2016. We will continue to be an active player on the acquisitions market and soon we will have other important announcements. We are in discussions with many producers and distributors worldwide. These agreements have been focused in securing the best factual, lifestyle and preschool content available. We know that the Hispanic audience has a very strong interest for these particular genres and that it is not commonly available from other networks that focus more on entertainment.
What is HITN’s programming goal for 2016, and how does it differ from years past?
Under our new management, HITN is investing heavily in acquiring fresh content that we believe will increase our ratings and distribution. In 2016, our focus will continue on securing great programming and in addition offering multi-platform solutions for our media savvy audience.
How do you compete with the likes of Univision and Telemundo?
We compete by offering content that although highly entertaining, it is much more than simple entertainment. We provide our audience with the best in factual, lifestyle and preschool content which you will not find in the over-the-air Hispanic networks.
What is the most effective way to reach Hispanic audiences when it comes to educational content?
HITN has worked very hard over three decades to grow our distribution on a national level and we are very active, market by market, to ensure our unique educational content reaches the widest possible audience. We pride ourselves in making sure our content has the right mix of entertainment and information with the highest possible production values to keep attracting and retaining a wide audience.
Has increasing multiculturalism affected your programming choices?
Yes, as one of the few networks that celebrates all Hispanic cultures, we currently schedule our linear network to serve the widest possible audience taking in consideration all the different cultures that mix into what we call the Hispanic community. At HITN, we will continue to widen our cultural-specific content availability as we deploy additional distribution platforms.
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