Latinos Are Fighting for Content

  |  May 22, 2012   |  Comments

Univision, Telemundo, Estrella TV, and MundoFox develop new programming to win audiences and advertisers.

The Latino media is at war as evidenced during this month's upfront presentations. David Lawenda, president, ad sales at Univision, opened fire very confidently, encouraging marketers to move beyond the big four (alluding to the English-language networks). "It's time to redefine prime time," he said, asking advertisers to invest a fairer share to Spanish television.

While the pitch was very passionate - though we are already seeing shifts in allocations - sharing successful stories and case studies might be more effective in persuading clients. Marketers are having a total market approach when it comes to media. In order to reallocate some of those dollars to Latino media, real ROI needs to be proven.

Major companies are after the $1.1 trillion opportunity that Latinos represent. And in trying to seduce the "Latino nation" (a population with a purchase power bigger than that of Russia or Mexico), finding the right media partner is critical. And content is a key weapon in trying to capture both audience and advertising dollars.

Old and New Formulas

Telenovelas have been a very effective formula. And both Univision and Telemundo don't want to take any risks by letting the other one win on this territory.

Coincidentally, both networks presented themselves as the Hollywood of Latino entertainment (Telemundo on the shoulders of its own studio, Univision leveraging Televisa, its Mexican partner). Funny, that both appealed to the same visual metaphor: the Hollywood logo repurposed with their own name.

Univision presented two new original novelas: "When the heart commands" and "For her I'm Eva," the latter a humorous show trying to prove the point that novelas are not just about love. It also introduced three web-novelas (produced exclusively for Univision.com)

Telemundo will be increasing its original programming by 40 percent including six new original telenovelas including "La Patrona" (The Patron), "Pasión Prohibida" (Forbidden Passion), and "Fina Estampa" (Fine Pedigree). It also announced the sequel of "La Reina del Sur," reportedly the highest rated telenovela in Telemundo's history.

Estrella TV will continue its success formula: to position itself as the anti-novela. The LA-based network produces hit TV shows like "Mi sueño es bailar," recreating successful American shows for the Latino audience. You might think that the network is short on ideas, but certainly not short on production budget (set design and production is handled by the same artist that did the original ones).

We Don't Need Another Hero?

Talking about old formulas, celebrities have always been an effective way to engage consumers, especially Latinos. At least that's what seems to be the approach for most of the networks: they are all searching for the right hero to connect with the audience's preference. And in doing so, they are betting on proven "heroes" and their families.

Let's take Estrella TV, for example, which announced a new original sitcom based on the cultural clash that Latinos face when living in the USA. Mexican actor Héctor Suárez will be the producer but also performing. His son Héctor Suárez Gomís will also be part of the cast.

Mun2 will be launching "The Chiquis Project," a spin-off of its popular reality series, "I Love Jenni," that follows the life of Chiquis Rivera, Jenni Rivera's daughter.

Telemundo will also present the series, "Nace un Idolo," based on the life of Mexican singer José José.

News, the Latino Way

MundoFox's sales pitch was about fighting convention. And that principle is aligned with its approach to news. Latinos want to know what's happening in the United States, not necessarily in Latin America, said the network, in direct allusion to the old Hispanic news formula. "Noticias Mundo," with Rolando Nichols as anchor, will be focused on news that happens in America and the impact on Latinos' lives. The idea is to avoid topics like immigration and focus on aspects that are more relevant to Hispanics like how to reach higher education or achieve financial success.

On the other end, a joint 24/7 news channel between Univision and ABC was announced. A clear attempt - the convergence of mainstream and Latino media - to bridge the Latino content gap. Content will be in English and include coverage on the economy, jobs, healthcare, entertainment, and lifestyle relevant to Latinos. It's expected to be launched in 2013 but the news website will be live by the summer of 2012. It will provide a Latino perspective on news, but will try to appeal to a broader audience too.

The Toughest Match

The battle for Latino content is also happening on the soccer field. Univision Deportes Network is dramatically increasing its content from 1,700 to 10,000 hours. The upcoming FIFA Brazil World Cup will be broadcasted live. Univision will try to maximize this event before it's Telemundo's turn. MediaMoves reports the latter has paid around $600 million for the Spanish-language TV deal for the 2018 and 2022 soccer global events.

Anecdotally, Fox got the deal for English-language TV, so the MundoFox audience will have to watch the content in English on Fox or turn to its competitor Telemundo for the Spanish transmission.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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