Latino Media at War

  |  May 21, 2012   |  Comments

News from the upfront lines of the Latino digital battlefield.

Last week I was lucky to spend some time in New York. It's always good to go to a city I love (I worked there for four years) but it was the upcoming media that drove my biggest excitement. As every year, I went searching for the latest and greatest content that can inspire ideas for our clients.

Surprisingly enough, some of the major players stuck to their proven formulas but showed very little news, especially on the digital side. Every media network talked (like we've been doing in this column for the past few years) of the importance of digital when it comes to the Latino audience, but not much real news was presented.

Mainstream Media Under Attack

Latino media is becoming hot, with double the amount of upfronts than last year. Univision opened fire under the theme "Latinos live here," playing with the double meaning of here (Univision or America). And that was precisely its strategy: to probe both the growing importance of the Latino population as well as how Univision is the dominant player in that field. The attack wasn't solely focused on other Hispanic media but on the general market as well. According to Univision's research, it beat NBC 195 nights out of 365 in 2011. While the company wasn't the only one to play with stats (focusing on different age segments or dayparts might show different results), it was a confirmation of how Hispanic TV audience is no longer a niche but can compete with the general market in terms of audience.

Univision ratified its leading position, bragging about its 73 percent share among Spanish television. Important to note, this includes its other networks (Galavision and Telefutura), while less than 10 years ago Univision by itself had more than 80 percent share. Still, benefiting from the growing Hispanic ad investment, its revenue doubled in that same period. On the other side, Telemundo altogether with mun2 recorded its best upfront season last year, delivering 20 percent growth in ad revenue.

The Latino Digital Battlefield

Just like last year, everyone seems to be after the same target: the young bicultural Latinos. Univision emphasized that young Latinos are empowered and digital natives. Telemundo's pitch appealed to the bicultural spirit of Latinos: the duality of being Latino and being in America.

Everyone made it clear that they get that social media is critical for Latinos. Many shows were positioned as "social media ready" (unfortunately, I have no clue what that would represent in terms of specific opportunities for brands).

The biggest news in terms of digital was the introduction of UVideos (Univision's proprietary video channel), bringing all of Univision content into one place. Consumers will be able to catch up with long and short digital video content in any platform including smart TVs, game consoles, and of course iPads and smartphones. A partnership with Facebook was announced but no further details were provided.

In a separate interview as cited by Lost Remote, Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media, stated that "Univision will kick-off live chats with its personalities and celebrities through Facebook Platform." The executive added in the same interview that "Facebook will be threaded throughout the experience allowing viewers to see what their friends are watching, follow celebrities, have access to exclusive content and join the conversation with Univision's synched social stream."

Telemundo announced the launch of its bilingual Entertainment App, which includes both Telemundo and mun2 content. Besides accessing their favorite shows, consumers can get news alerts and check programming schedules, and comment on and rate videos. Users can access Telemundo's full programming schedule and add calendar reminders to their phone about program air dates and times and mark particular programs and sections as "favorites." In addition to commenting on and rating the app's articles, photos, and videos, a new social media integration enables users to share content from the app directly with friends and followers, as well as follow, tweet, and retweet favorite Telemundo programs, talent, and celebrities.

Size Matters, Especially in War Time

The launch of MundoFox brought more excitement to the battle. Asking if size matters, the new contender stated that the Spanish language media space will continue to grow. But there's a need for a new fighter that wants to play big and fight convention. And that was exactly its pitch. Full of ammunition, MundoFox is aimed to repeat its history of breakthrough TV ideas beating old-time formulas (in this case, Hispanic telenovelas).

There will be lots of original content produced in Latin America complemented by successful Fox shows dubbed in Spanish. The programming will include: Latino series, American series, news, sports, teleseries, telenovelas, Latin American movies, and American movies. All in one place and in Spanish.

MundoFox plans to become a robust national cable network reaching 70 percent of Latino households. Fox ended its pitch threatening the big Hispanic players: we will beat them, the same way we did with mainstream TV.

These are my initial observations on this Latino media war. I'll be reporting more in the next few days.

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Gustavo Razzetti

Gustavo Razzetti is EVP, Managing Director of Lapiz, the Latino shop of Leo Burnett. He has 20+ years of experience in integrated marketing communications in U.S. and Latin American markets.

A change agent, with the expertise of transforming agencies into digital at the core shops, Razzetti has become one of the leading voices when it comes to understanding the new market dynamics of US Latinos.

Former Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer at Grupo Gallegos, president of GlobalHue NY and CEO of Euro RSCG Latino. Razzetti's career is marked by extensive experience working with top consumer brands such as Comcast, Walgreens, Verizon, Nestlé, Chivas Regal, General Motors, Coca-Cola, and BBVA, and 200 others. He also served as CEO of Euro RSCG both in Puerto Rico and in Argentina. Prior to that, Gustavo was CEO and founding partner of WhyNet - the no. 1 interactive agency in Argentina.

Strategist by conviction, digital pioneer by choice, leader by evolution; Razzetti has received recognitions that include Effie awards, Gran Prix AMBA, Euro RSCG's CBI Award, and Strategic Planning Director of the Year, McCann Erickson. Many of the campaigns he strategically led won Cannes, Clio, New York Festival, London, and FIAP awards, among others.

On a personal note, Gustavo loves scuba diving, bicycling, gourmet cooking, and fine wines.

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