Cynopsis Media Presents: Hispanic UPFRONT Special



Telemundo is the best place to reach and engage Hispanics with your brand!

Source: Nielsen/TVRocs, M-Su 7P-11P A1849(000) C3, 16/17 vs 15/16 Season to-date (as of 3/26/17)
CynopsisMEDIA Presents:
Hispanic Networks Upfronts 2017
Cathy Applefeld Olson

If there’s one message the US Hispanic networks are voicing loud and clear this year, it’s that they aren’t your parents’ Hispanic nets. Brands and agencies entrenched in this market are seeing swelling slates of original programming that’s fresh, current and distinctively American by design.
An Original Idea
Agencies have their eye on the varying levels of acculturation among multicultural audiences, says Garth Tiedje, SVP, director of video investment at Horizon Media, which counts Burger King and Corona parent Constellation Brands among clients. And original programming is a growing part of the equation.
“Obviously it’s not just as simple as differentiating between a Spanish speaker and a non-Spanish speaker. As the US population becomes more multicultural, the networks are trying to figure out how to address that,” Tiedje says. “Original content is becoming more and more important to them and is certainly becoming more relevant on a holistic basis to the US Hispanic consumer. That makes it important to the advertisers.”
The investment in original fare seems a good calculated bet given that the more than 54 million-strong US Hispanic population is projected to pack $1.7 trillion in spending power by the end of 2017. Auto, CPG, CSR, movie studios, pharmaceutical, tech and telecom remain strong advertising verticals for this demographic.
Telemundo has seen marked ratings increases since it doubled down on original content last year, premiering three original series on the same night in July. “It was a tipping point for us,” says Laura Molen, EVP of the Lifestyle and Hispanic Advertising Sales Group at NBCUniversal. “We saw record-breaking performances, and we’re looking at building even more original content for our audience. They want high-quality series with contemporary storytelling that transcends stereotypes.”
Molen says Telemundo is up 18 percent to date C3 in A18-49 – and it’s not taking its foot off the accelerator. Premiering next week is Guerra de Idolos (War of Idols), a music-infused drama Molen compares to CMT’s Nashville in its storytelling vibe and musical scope. The series will feature a variety of music genres and cameos by artists.
As the content landscape begins to shift, Univision Communications has begun to make bold content moves as well. The company – which recently added Amazon and Apple to its advertiser roster – in October brought in Lourdes Diaz, formerly of Comedy Central, as president of entertainment. “She is not only looking at original programing for us but will be freshening up some of our existing content,” says Keith Turner, president of advertising sales and marketing, citing flagship morning show Despierta America as one that will get a facelift.
As for new original content, the network plans to tackle primetime and bring fresh options to its audience, 70% of whom watch solely Univision, Turner says. “We’re new in the development area and we’ll be starting with the 8:00 hour,” he notes. The net is also building out successful franchises. It will program more than 700 hours of soccer next year, including US Men’s National Major League Soccer and Copa America. And given the success of Univision’s news department, the network this spring added a weekly noon news program. 
Additionally, UCI news and content chief Isaac Lee this January added responsibility of content for Mexico’s Grupo Televisa, which recently obtained FCC clearance to up its stake in Univision to 49%, and the company is “better coordinated on content than we’ve ever been,” Turner says. Noting having both networks under one umbrella will foster a more current take on traditional fare, he says, “We will have younger, hipper, smarter telenovelas coming up – more popular formats than we’ve had before.”
Discovery U.S. Hispanic – including Discovery En Espanol and Discovery Familia – is developing a slate of original series, including a soccer knowledge-based competition show, an entrepreneurial series helping small Latino businesses grow and a lineup of automotive transformation series. The networks also are taking a page from parent Discovery Communications’ push into the virtual reality space and creating immersive experiences for the US Hispanic marketplace.
US Hispanic networks are “starting to see a trend away from traditional programming formats – telenovelas, variety shows, news – to more reality-based series, bio-series and dramas,” says David Tardio, VP of ad sales, Discovery U.S. Hispanic, who points out the pendulum swings both ways. “From the English-language networks we are starting to see content that is more reflective of the diversity of the US population, including plots that resonate with Hispanic viewers as well as casts including Hispanic talent,” Tardio says. “It is no secret that English-language networks would love to be able to tap into multicultural ad budgets in order to monetize these shifts.” 
Original content is also abuzz at broadcaster Estrella, which has amassed more than 60 creators of original content and has been nipping at Univision and Telemundo’s toes in the LA market since opening its own Fenomeno Studios a year and a half ago to create programming that largely mirrors formats found on the general entertainment networks. Winter Horton, COO of network parent LBI Media, says there’s no longer a place for repurposed content or dated traditional fare in today’s highly competitive market marketplace. “We knew we had to produce programming here in the US to appeal to a US Hispanics as opposed to importing programming from other parts of the world to the US,” he says.
Traditional Hispanic melodramas may not resonate with today’s viewer, Horton adds. “Our programing strategy is all current. We’ve got our own version of America’s Got Talent, The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, The Housewives of Beverly Hills. All programming is made in Burbank and directed solely to the US Hispanic” across television and digital distribution, he says.
The Digital Picture
Digital is shaping up to be another mixed bag this year. On one hand, US Hispanics continue to over-index on mobile devices. On the other, uneven content choices and measurement tools still confound some brands.
Digital opportunities “are important because of those indices that we see,” Horizon’s Tiedje says. But they come with a few precarious strings. “The TV extensions in many instances aren’t up to par with what the general market offers, and that causes some advertisers to rethink their spending levels as to what is feasible and/or available. It’s not as simple as saying you can just transfer the money.” 
 “We’re finding new ways to develop and disseminate content that audiences will enjoy, especially on mobile devices,” says Craig Geller, EVP of network sales and digital, at Azteca America. “Our approach toward digital screens is to create a unique content environment – for us, it is not just a repeat of what you can see on the linear channel.”
Azteca has been aggressive in OTT, including a new partnership with Zype that will bring its content to major platforms including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku, and recently became the first Hispanic network to use Videology as its data-enabled advertising platform partner.
Univision, which has made significant investments in the digital realm including purchasing satirical site The Onion and, more recently, Gawker, is wrapping digital into key brand business. “For our primetime entertainment, we try to sell them our news, soccer, digital all in one package – and the digital offerings are much larger than they have been in the past,” Turner says.
Likewise, Telemundo is embracing digital but keeping a strong focus on linear television. Referencing recent comments by the chief brand officer of the nation’s and world’s biggest advertiser, P&G, that skewered the state of digital, Molen says, “Marc Pritchard said he’s very committed to shifting dollars back to television and multicultural and Hispanic being a very important part of that.”

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