The once again newfound discovery of the Latino audience as media consumers attracted a huge crowd to one of the final sessions of NATPE.
It was standing room only at “The ever expanding opportunities in Spanish language television.” Media execs and content producers were curious to know just exactly were those opportunities teased in the name of the session. Execs from Univision, Telemundo and MundoFox were also in attendance.
The 45-minute panel, moderated by former CNN correspondent Harris Whitbeck, now CEO of the entertainment production company Zodiak Latino, had some of the Spanish-language networks top execs: Jackie Hernández, CEO of Telemundo; Alberto Ciurana, President Programming and Content of Univision Networks; and Adriana Ibañez, EVP Programming for MundoFox. Christy Haubegger, Agent/Executive Creative Artists Agency was also on the panel, talking about cross-over opportunities.
Here are some take aways from the conversation:
* Whitbeck asked the executives to address the issue of audience nationality. He pointed out that as a producer doing a pitch, he’s always told that 70% of the audience is Mexican and that programs have to cater to the Mexican audience. “But what about the other 30%? aren’t you afraid to alienate them?”
Ciurana affirmed that Univision does cater to the Mexican audience. “Our partnership with Televisa works very well,” but he pointed out that there was no intention at alienating anyone.
Telemundo’s Hernández stressed: “It’s about reaching the largest consumer segment…. it’s not about alienating the audience.”
Ibañez insisted that while “it’s important to have content that appeals to Mexicans… we want to believe the story is the main driver” that attracts an audience.
* Telemundo is looking at creating “new formats and concepts every day that are really reflecting the changes” of the audience, such as novelas produced for the web and weekly shows airing on mun2, instead of Mon-Fri novelas, and reality competition shows, such as La Voz Kids, to debut later in 2013.
* Univision says they have a commitment to delivering quality in their programming, with novelas experiencing an “evolution” that speaks to a young audience. “I prefer to produce original content instead of buying something and improving it,” says Ciurana.
* Social media is fueling Spanish-language entertainment, with shows engaging live with viewers and having them actively participate.
* As a recently launched network, MundoFox doesn’t have a large budget. “We dream of when we can do bigger projects… now we have to be creative,” says Ibañez.
* Budgets haven’t kept pace with the Hispanic audience growth in terms of allocation of resources, says Haubegger: “If you’re a marketer trying to grow the business, do you want to focus on the audience that’s getting smaller and older.. or growing and younger?”
And… talking about money, all executives avoided answering when asked if they would increase their production budgets if they could get more advertising dollars.
The saddest take away: according to Haubegger, “English language premium cable networks are trying to learn from Spanish-language networks” about how to bring down costs of productions.
There are more “fun” details of the Latino aspects of NATPE on Laura Martinez’s site, Mi blog es tu blog.