CYNOPSIS MEDIA Presents: UPFRONT with Azteca America Rising ratings, enhanced distribution and a programming strategy that’s driving results – that’s just part of the message Azteca America is taking on the road for a five-city tour that includes stops in NYC, Chicago, LA and Dallas as well as new addition Miami, part of its commitment to its new full-power station, WGEN. Two years into Manuel Abud’s term as network CEO and President, Azteca finished the broadcast season up 33% in total viewers, 28% among A18-49 and 29% in A18-34. “Having a leader like Manuel Abud at the helm makes a big difference,” says Craig Geller, Azteca’s Executive Vice President of Network and Digital Sales. “When you have a game plan and a strategy and you execute well against it, you’re going to get good results.” Geller shares more of Azteca’s story with Cynopsis.
What’s the Upfront pitch this year?
“We’re making sure we’re connecting this audience with the advertiser in a way that feels real and unique to them. That’s the overarching message: feel the intensity. And that includes four core messages. The first is strength – of our brand, our product and our parent company. We are very well-positioned to continue to build and capture the U.S. marketplace. Second, we look at the magnitude of scale and amplifying who we are, whether it’s growth in stations, or digital. Third is engagement – when we see the engagement scores continue to grow, we think we’re doing a good job of passing on and possessing the passion of the audience. And finally is reinvention. While Manuel Abud is enjoying a good deal of success, he continues to challenge this team to do it better, and to do it better and to do it better, because he recognizes that the audience is going to continually ask us to give them more.”
Why the cross-country trip, instead of a May event?
“Like last year, we’re not going to go in the May 15, blurred-vision Upfront week. We recognize that our one-on-one consultative selling is critically important. We want to make sure we’re solving for solutions, not solving for sales. If we solve a client’s solution, our businesses will grow together. The only time we feel like we’re going to be at the negotiating table is when we have to talk about market conditions, which is the ultimate ugly thing of price. But we don’t think that’s going to be an issue for us if we get the solutions correctly done. We’re having robust conversations that lead to partnerships, not deals.”
What’s a partnership versus a deal?
“A partnership means we have a vested interest in understanding the pain points in reaching their consumer, understanding that there are certain assets a client would like to have, whether it’s video, whether they need to have talent endorse a product, whether it’s integration. If we’re doing a good enough job understanding what those needs and wants are, and they understand what we can provide, then that’s a partnership. Going into the Upfront market in May, it’s tough to get a dialogue going.”
What new ad categories do you hope to break?
“The core categories will continue to be automotive, CPG, theatrical. This is a marketplace that is in need of education on the pharmaceutical business. It’s an underdeveloped category. It’s a sad thing to say, but this is a marketplace that experiences a pretty high degree of disease. The amount of English-speaking advertising campaigns not targeting Latinos is ridiculous. If people assume the Hispanic market doesn’t have health insurance, shame on them.”
What has advertiser response been?
“The marketplace today is ever more demanding. There’s a good degree of disruption. You have to be able to recognize that what may have worked last year, might still work, but you to continue to look to improve. For us, last year we saw revenue growth and category growth and advertisers on the network grow exponentially. We foresee that we’ll continue that momentum.”
How do you see the Spanish-language network landscape shifting, and what is Azteca’s place in it?
“That question lends itself to three different pieces. The first is that it all centers around content. The second part is distribution, and the third part is what the consumer is going to decide – our job is to influence how consumers vote in terms of their media. We look at it as video in its totality. We want to be sure we’re running that video where the audience is migrating to. We’ve done a very good job of shoring up our distribution from a station group standpoint. We’re fully committed to making sure this audience from a linear standpoint has the best opportunity to sample and enjoy the content. We have to make sure our VOD offerings are there, and that we have the OTT platform, for all the cord cutters.”
What is Azteca’s programming strategy?
“Manuel Abud recognized that we need to continue to reinvent and rebuild ourselves, which led to our counterprogramming strategy of blocks, and that has worked. We are making sure we double down on continuity. You’ll see some similar stories as far as content, and then we’re going to try some things that are different – you’re going to see great continuity, with reinvention.”
What multiplatform opportunities can you offer advertisers?
“When it comes to multiplatform, at the crux of this are two things: giving the audience the content that they desire, and making sure that we drive scale in an audience. We want to make sure we’re connecting on all devices. What our advertisers are saying to us is, help us understand how to get our message a higher level of engagement. Take us along that walk as you see where the disruptors are going and take us along with you. Our engagement is up year over year, and that tells you that the content that we’re pushing out is connecting and working.”
JUST THE FACTS
Founded in 2000, Azteca America is the U.S. arm of Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language content in the world.
During Upfronts, Azteca announced two new shows for its 2017-2018 programming slate:
Vis a Vis: An intense prison drama tells the story of Macarena Ferreiro, a young naive woman who falls in love with her boss and is manipulated by him to participate in illegal activity. She is sentenced to seven years in prison and is faced with the day-to-day dangers of being incarcerated. Macarena quickly realizes that in order to survive her time in jail she will need to change her ways and adhere to a prisoner’s code.
Mystical Tales: Azteca’s new supernatural series is a collection of the mystical stories as told by ordinary people, reenacted in the style of documentaries without dialogue (making them very suitable for local adaptation). Theories explaining these stories fall into two basic categories: scientific explanations (medical, physiological and psychological) and supernatural explanations (religious, spiritual).
This month, Azteca America entered into affiliate agreements with Entravision Communications Corporation, a media company serving Latino audiences across acculturation levels. As part of the agreement, a group of full-power stations serving San Diego, Laredo, TX and Yuma, AZ/El Centro, CA become Azteca affiliates.
Azteca outpaced growth of all other Spanish-language broadcasters in the A18-49 and A18-34 demos for the second consecutive broadcast season, reaching over 12.3 million total viewers and 6.3 million A18-49 in primetime.
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