Tag Archive | "Fox International Channels"

CEO Hernán López exits Fox International in reorganization

CEO Hernán López exits Fox International in reorganization

Hernan LopezFox has eliminated its Fox International Channels unit, prompting the exit of Hernán López, who had been its CEO since 2011.

As part of the company’s overhaul of the international division, it has divided the over 350 channels into 3 regional hubs in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Carlos Martínez, most recently President of FIC Latin America, will now be President of Fox Networks Group Latin America. He’ll be reporting directly to Fox Networks Group CEO Peter Rice and COO Randy Freer.

López joined Fox in 1997 as a marketing executive. Three years later, he was named President and General Manager of Fox Latin American Channel.

He engineered Fox’s partnership with Colombia’s RCN to launch MundoFox in 2012. But the new Spanish-language network struggled with distribution in top Hispanic markets – particularly New York and Miami, where an initial deal with América TeVe went sour, ending up in a lawsuit.

Slighty less than two years after MundoFox’s debut – in July of las year, RCN bought out Fox’s stake in the venture, renaming the network MundoMax.

According to Variety, López has indicated he is “preparing to launch a new venture in the near future.”

Posted in People, TV & RadioComments Off on CEO Hernán López exits Fox International in reorganization

Londoño promoted at Fox International

Diego LondoñoFOX International Channels today announced it has promoted Diego Londoño to Chief Operating Officer (COO) of its European and African units, effective immediately.  He will continue to keep his role as President of FIC Italy & Germany.

He’ll be based in Rome and report directly to Jesús Perezagua, President of FIC Europe & Africa. The appointment adds decision-making responsibilities across pan-European and African programming, production, branding, communications, research and strategy to Londoño’s existing role.

Londoño is a 15-year veteran of FIC, where he has worked in multiple capacities and offices since 1997. In May 2007, he was named President of FIC Italy & Germany with full responsibility for the operations of the company in both countries. Prior to that, Mr. Londoño was Vice President Marketing, Sales & Research at FIC Italy with a specific focus on channel strategy and positioning, marketing and communications.

Before moving to Rome, he spent five years in FIC’s Los Angeles offices where he was in charge of all marketing, communication and digital activities for FOX, National Geographic Channel and FOX Kids throughout Latin America.


Posted in People, TV & RadioComments Off on Londoño promoted at Fox International

Saccone shares MundoFox vision with Media Moves

Emiliano Saccone

Emiliano Saccone, President MundoFox.

With only two weeks to launch – on August 13 – Media Moves sat down for a candid conversation with Emiliano Saccone, who reveals the idea for MundoFox was born 8 years ago.  He talks about his background, the Hispanic market and shares his vision for MundoFox.

Saccone was named President of MundoFox in March of this year after working 13 years for Fox International Channels (FIC). His wealth of experience, including his most recent position as President of Entertainment and Executive Vice President of Content of FIC, and the fact he was the person who first conceptualized a Fox-branded Spanish-language broadcast network in the U.S., convinced company executives he was the right person to run MundoFox.

Saccone, a UCLA-trained executive, began his career as a creative at the L.A. ad agency Casanova Pendrill in Los Angeles, before jumping ship to the television industry.

How did your ad agency experience help you transition to your television career at Fox?

I fall into what many people describe as a creative.  When I moved to Los Angeles Casanova Pendrill hired me as a copywriter.  I stayed for 5 years until I became general creative director, overseeing big national Hispanic accounts.

In 1995, I was offered a job at Fox Latin American channels. I became creative director for on-air. I had been in advertising, coming up with ad campaigns on the creative side and then I moved to a different industry, but doing more or less the same.  I was in charge of the on-air department, which has a lot in common with writing commercials, except that for TV you’re doing it to promote television shows, so in a way it was a pretty seamless transition.

Things got a lot more interesting and intricate as the years went by.  Over the years I turned on my left brain in addition to my right brain. I did an MBA and became more in touch with the business side of our industry.

How would you describe your evolution at Fox?

Hernán Lopez, President Fox International Channels.

I would put my evolution into a single word: Hernán. I’m referring to my longtime boss and friend Hernán López. I give myself a lot of credit for wanting to evolve at both on a human and professional level, but I give Hernán a lot of credit for mentoring me and being there for me as a friend as a well, and not just as a boss.

As he decided to really expand on his knowledge base about the television industry, and becoming in my view one of the most remarkable television executives on a world-wide bases, I sort of piggy-backed on to that and he embraced me as part of his growth.  He pushed me, and I think together, along with other people who were along for the ride throughout these years, we all made big things in international television.

I think the evolution had a lot to do with trial and error and learning from our mistakes – a combination of pushing our own envelope, as far as expanding our footprint. And not just making money, but creating strong brand and creating a connection with people and viewers.

How did the MundoFox project materialize?

About 7 to 8 years ago, when we learned that television frequencies would be eventually digitized across the US, and therefore, allow networks to suddenly have more bandwith available and that bandwidth had to be put to good use, people company-wide started coming up with ideas to exploit that extra bandwidth that came with the digitization.

I was sort of the architect.  I have this creative streak and over the years, a more strategic view of things. I put the concept for the network together and created a programming grid of what things could look like, seizing available programming that we could borrow for News Corp’s different divisions, plus the things we had been producing internationally.

We presented it before top Fox executives, but it never made it much further than that.

A few years later, prior to the last census results in 2010, we started seeing hard data, and the buzz in trades that hinted that finally that the Hispanic market was ripe. So, we pulled the project back from the drawer and we said this time around, provided what the census promises to be true, we have shot at it.

Prior to launching MundoFox, Saccone recalls “we had to find our own partner… our very own Televisa.” RCN became that partner.

Even if all the Census data proved true, and everything was aligned for News Corp to think seriously about the Hispanic market, we had to find our own partner… our very own Televisa.  It didn’t take us long because little did we know that a longtime friend and partner of ours, RCN had been going through the same process individually.

It was June 2011 – a year ago, when we pulled the project out of the drawer, we sat down with Gabriel Reyes, the President of RCN and we said what’s next.

I remember Hernán had learned that Fernando Gaitán, creator of “Betty la Fea,” was up for the prestigious Brandon Tartikoff award in January. So we set that as our deadline, to make the announcement at NATPE.  By the time we realized that, in November of 2011, we had a few but critical tasks to accomplish before we were able to stand in front of the community and say we’re launching the next big major national network in this country.

What was critical was to get a positive response from key local station owners. If we didn’t, MundoFox wouldn’t be able to launch. To our surprise, when we reached out to a few but critical local stations to pitch MundoFox, they said they were in the minute they heard our pitch. The Meruelo Group, the current owners of channel 22 in los angeles were the first ones to say they were in.

Once we got that clear indication that many station owners were craving not just for good content but essentially a value proposition that we had put togehter, we realized this is real.

What has been your biggest challenge since you took over the reins of MundoFox?

The biggest challenge is two-fold – first leaving this group of wonderful human beings that I had nurtured over the years across FIC.  Second, was accepting in my heart that I was going to have to go through a learning curve and to humble myself in a way and to say I’m going to give it all I have. This would probably mean I will be devoted to this thing in my life as I am to my children.

Another challenge is accepting the fact this is a startup – creating Fox’s second major broadcast network in the U.S. That comes with a high responsibility. But above all, what’s most challenging is living up to all the people that have trusted me and those are my friends at RCN and all of Newscorp and most importantly, all of our affiliates who believe in what MundoFox stands for.

Everything else is a matter of putting out fires and getting things done.

You’re credited with increasing FIC’s Latin America channels to record ratings.  How do you propose to accomplish the same feat with MundoFox?

That’s a big overstatement.  We – and it’s a WE because there’s a bunch of very bright minds behind that quote – were able to increase ratings across every segment that we were part of internationally and that’s general entertainment, lifestyle, factual, sports and so on. There’s no magic potion for that.  In my humble opinion, I always refer to my guiding pricinciple.  Yes, I consider this to be a science – a combination of experience, of analyzing data, making strategic deicsions, definitely. But before that, my guidance principle is who, then what.

Way before your ultimate objectives in a given business, whether they’re high ratings from one year to the next, come people.  So you want to make sure you have the right people sitting in the right places, and if at all possible, those people should be great people. That’s where you start. That’s where I’ve always started and that to me is the magic potion. Everything else is secondary.

MundoFox has “more flexibility and less to lose than the big guys,” says Saccone of the new network’s competitive advantage over Univision and Telemundo.

In my view, that has to be with being start up and by definition having more flexibility and less to lose than the big guys.  The advantage of being the small guy is that you can afford pushing the envelope and experiment and when you experiment, you’re able to innovate. Case in point, that’s exactly what Fox did 26 years ago, when ABC, CBS and NBC dominated the broadcast market in this country.  Back then, Fox could afford to experiment and created very innovative shows and led to what Fox Broadcasting Company is today – the highest-rated network in the U.S. for the last 10 years.  That’s our competitive advantage.

Do you see an advantage in being based in LA?

I see the advantage of being the first to really embrace the top Hispanic DMA in the country from its headquarters.  Sooner or later, the community will appreciate the fact that at least one of the potentially major broadcasters in Spanish is being broadcast out of California.  That sends a compelling message. It’s not just another Spanish broadcaster operating from the East Coast. From that perspective, it has value.

From an operational standpoint, to us it makes all the sense in the world. FBC [Fox Broadcasting Company] and all of Fox’s key television properties are operated and transmitted out of Los Angeles. That gives us operational advantages we can leverage.

Who is your target audience?

We’ve made an art of targeting the most desired demographic for advertisers.  Not just targeting, but generating strong connections… and I borrow that from Mr. James Murdoch, who once put it like that and it has since stuck with me. That’s our core audience: Hispanics between 18-49 and that’s how we’re programming network. That could expand.

Not many people are clear how the dynamics within the diversity of the Hispanic group operate and work. Traditionally, Nielsen would define Hispanics as those who were Spanish-language predominant vs. those who were English-language predominant, and in between were the bilinguals.  We think that’s a thing of the past.  We have our version of that definition. We break that down into 3 groups, but with a different take on how we define them:

The first, we call Spanish-language reluctant – those who watch Spanish-language television reluctantly. Maybe they’ve been in this country not too long and they’re stuck watching whatever they’re offering in Spanish because they can’t yet watch a full show in English. That’s a small group, roughly 16% of Hispanics.

Then we have the English-language reluctants, who wish they could watch more Spanish-language television, even if they speak more English than Spanish on daily basis, but refuse to watch something in Spanish that’s not nearly as good as what they get in English.  We think those are  25-26% of the group.

Then clearly, we have what we call the Spanish-language routines.  That’s the largest group and potentially where we know the most upside can come from.  They’re the ones that currently watch Univision and Telemundo and are happy with it. But we think, with this group – we were also very happy with the Walkman in the 90’s at some point, somebody came up to you and said, check out this iPod, which unlike your Walkman, you can store a thousand songs in it… and you fall in love with the iPod right there and then.  Long story short, we think the low hanging fruit for us are the first 2 groups.  Those are going to come with MundoFox, but we’re also very keen and keep a close eye to the largest group, which is the Spanish-language routines.

What’s your take on other Hispanic media that’s trying to capitalize on the English-speaking Latino?

I say… good luck.  I think some of them are right on target and might be successful in it. It’s not our business, at least not for now. I think the moment you start targeting Latinos in English, you’re opening the door to competing with many more competitors than you ever had before, and with players who do things extremely well.

It’s not our game and won’t be our game until much further down the line.

What’s the programming arrangement with the affiliates? 

The network is going to feed most of the day, across the week and weekend. We’re looking at 16.5 hours on weekdays and 18 hours on weekend. That excludes an hour and half of local news Monday-Friday, which we encourage local affiliates to do their local news.

After 1 am, they have an option. Although the network will supply them with programming should they need it, from 1 to 7 am is for them to do whatever they want with that time.

As a network that’s providing the content and building a brand, what’s the commitment to quality you’re demanding of your affiliates and how will you keep track that their local newscasts and programs keep in line with your guidelines?

We’ve heard people over the last few years increasingly saying that content is king.  We think that if content is king, then the brand is a castle. We’re all about brand and a proof of that is what Fox stands for.

We’re extremely sensitive to how our brand will be handled.  No matter how little time affiliates will have on a daily basis to use the Fox brand, we have set very tight parameters. But most importantly, we really made it a big point so they feel they can get our support in order to never mess with the Fox brand. We’re really on top of that.

At the end of the day, I truly believe brands are more important now more than ever before, given the zillion viewing and other platforms available to the final consumer.  I think now more than ever  strong brand is a shortcut to a consumers mind.  So you want to make sure that your brand is as strong and present in your consumer’s mind as possible.  So brand is a top priority for us.

Ahead of the launch, you’ve already secured top advertisers such as Toyota, L’Oreal and T-mobile.  How are advertisers responding to the launch? Is the entry of MundoFox in the market going to depress ad pricing?

Our ad sales team has done an incredible job. You really have to be good to secure the quality and the size of advertising partners that our advertising team, led by Tom Maney, has secured, especially when MundoFox does not exist yet and has no proven track record. Essentially, it’s all on spec, and based on a promise.

In spite of that, a good reason for that success, which by the way is material, we’re appalled by the support and investment that came with some of the country’s largest advertisers from day one and we’re not too surprised because I think, when you have only a handful of dominant players, the fact that a potentially large player with a very distinct value proposition will come into any given market, that’s usually good news for advertisers.  It means choice.

I think this market is in much need of choice. We bring a different environment. It’s not more of the same.  You’ll be able to reach and establish a connection with the same and new viewers with a different mindset. That can only be good.

I wouldn’t be concerned about pricing, because we care about this industry as much as our competitors do. We would never do anything to lower the overall value of what has been built by them over the years.  We’re absolutely careful about coming up with rates that are competitive and that would never diminish the value they’ve been able to create. But we are a choice and an option to advertisers and advertisers have come to appreciate that.

How long do you think it will take for MundoFox to gain significant audience share and become a top player in the Hispanic media market?

My guess is that we have a long way to go before we reach cruise altitude. That may take years, but the important thing is we’re going out there with the conviction that we have everything it takes and then some, to be a major player. There’s not a doubt in our mind.  The time factor is hard to predict, but we should have some clear indications of our convictions after one year of the network.


Posted in People, TV & RadioComments Off on Saccone shares MundoFox vision with Media Moves

Exclusive: RCN’s Reyes shares with Media Moves its plans for MundoFox

Gabriel Reyes Copello, President RCN Television

When Fox International Channels (FIC) and Colombia’s RCN Television Group (RCN) executives announced they were teaming up to launch a new Spanish-language network during the NATPE conference in January, the news generated a huge buzz.

The creation of MundoFox is a big deal. If the new network truly delivers on providing a high-quality alternative, with U.S.-produced original programming, it could make a dent on Univision’s almost monopolistic Hispanic market share.

Media Moves spoke to FIC’s President Hernán Lopez shortly after the announcement about plans for the network.

Now, we talk exclusively with RCN’s President, Gabriel Reyes Copello.

M.M.:  What will be RCN’s role in MundoFox?

G.R.: RCN will be contributing 50% from the standpoint of a formal partnership, in addition to content.

RCN is a company with more that 35 years experience producing content for an international market and more tan 15 years distributing not only a finished product but scripts as well.

We have experience, infrastructure and talent – from behind the scenes such as producers, writers and directors to internationally known actors.

That will be our biggest contribution, in addition to the management of news through our network NTN24.

M.M.:  What is RCN’s cash investment in the creation of MundoFox?

G.R.: That information is protected by a confidentiality agreement. It’s a joint venture in which we are making not just an economic investment, but are also contributing original new programming as well as content from our catalog.

M.M.:  What is RCN’s vision on creating a new Spanish-language network in the United States?

G.R.: It’s a huge challenge. We have strong competitors like Univision with Televisa backing and Telemundo with the support of NBC [Comcast]. But we think there’s room for another channel that will satisfy the information and entertainment needs of the 50 million Hispanics in the U.S.

We have experience, a very strong Brand in Fox and we have the content. There’s a great opportunity to offer U.S. Hispanics a good alternative.

We want to offer more attractive programming; shows that will mark the difference to what Hispanics in the U.S. are seeing today.

We do not plan to replicate programming that airs on Univision and Telemundo.

M.M.:  Are you saying you won’t air novelas?

G.R.:  Well, no.  Within a programming grid there have to be some telenovelas, but we’ll have a great variety of programming that will interest and satisfy the whole Hispanic family.

Fiction is very important and we’ll have some high quality series, reality shows, sports, thanks to our connection with Fox Deportes, and of course, news.

M.M.:  When will that be?

G.R.: We’re still on the same schedule as when we made the announcement in January. We expect it will be in September or October of this year. We’ll be making the decision together with Fox.

Mundo Fox's promotional website showcases RCN and Fox Latin America programming.


M.M.:  What are RCN’s expectations about entering the U.S. Hispanic market?

G.R.: We already have an established presence in the market with series we’ve aired first on Telemundo with “Betty La Fea,” then Univision and Telefutura with “El Capo” and “Rosario Tijeras.” We also offered a wide variety of programming through TV Colombia and news on NTN24.

We felt we needed to explore the option of an over-the-air network.  This is a much bigger channel – not a “theme” or ethnic channel, but rather one that’s dedicated to the entire Hispanic audience, with programming geared towards that public.

M.M.:  RCN has previously sold programs to Univision and Telefutura.  Does the joint venture with Fox mean your programs will now exclusively air on MundoFox?

G.R.: Yes, our programming will now be exclusive to MundoFox, with the exception of some shows that are currently under license to Univision and Telefutura. We have about 7 to 8 productions that have already gone on the air or are about to air on Univision that we must respect, but everything else will be MundoFox exclusive – pretty much all of our new programs from June of 2011 to the present.

M.M.:  When I spoke to Hernán López in January, he heavily promoted your series “Kdabra,” but that show recently debuted on Univision. That network’s reps say they have the rights for the first two seasons. Will that show be able to make your launch programming slate?

G.R.: The first season of “Kdabra” is committed to Univision, but we’ll be able to air the following seasons.

M.M.:  Mr. López said RCN would be in charge of news programming. What’s RCN’s plan for its news coverage in the U.S.?

G.R.: With NTN24 we have a 24-hour international news channel. We’re now going to strengthen our presence in the United States, with content about Hispanics for Hispanics.

We have our news center in Bogotá, but we currently have bureaus in New York, Washington and Miami and we’re planning to expand to Los Angeles, where MundoFox has its operations.

M.M.:  You mention your news center in Bogotá. Are you then planning on producing a U.S. newscast from Colombia? If not, where will the newscasts be produced?

G.R.:  We haven’t yet defined where, but we will have a news operations center in the United States. We plan to increase the news coverage in the U.S.  We have the advantage that we already have a news team in place.

M.M.:  Will you be hiring journalists in the U.S.?

G.R.: Yes, we definitely plan on hiring people that are already here in the U.S.

M.M.:  What will happen with NTN24? Will RCN pull the plug on the network in order to focus on the U.S.?

G.R.:  NTN24 will continue to function as an international news channel.  We’re planning to have a parallel conduit dedicated to U.S. news.  We’re in the process of hiring and developing more newscasts for NTN24.

M.M.:  Will RCN air MundoFox programming in Colombia?

G.R.: At least initially we don’t plan to do that. RCN manages its own programming independently within Colombia. We don’t exclude the possibility that we may want to air some MundoFox programming in the future.

M.M.:  How was RCN’s relationship with Fox International Channels in Colombia and how do you foresee that connection to develop with the partnership in the U.S.? 

G.R.: We have a long relationship with Fox. It’s our provider of movies and series in Colombia. Fox Telecolombia has also been our provider for many years. We also have a good relationship with 20th Century Fox.

It’s thanks to that relationship that last year Hernán López and I had an initial conversation about the possibility of partnering up for an over the air television network. After many meetings, we agreed to launch this channel that we hope will be on the air soon.

M.M.:  What’s the next step?

G.R.:  For the time being, I’m in the process of helping Hernán [López] and Emiliano [Saccone] in the programming design and the distribution structure.

We’re all going to work hand in hand in this project because it’s the most important one we have for the next two years.

It’s not just me as president of the company, but the owners [Organización Ardila Lülle] and Lucas Capaz, Vice President of RCN, who will be coordinating our efforts between RCN and Fox to make MundoFox a success.


About Gabriel Reyes Copello:

Since 2001, he is the CEO of RCN Television. He coordinated the launch of the network in 1998, becoming its first Executive Vice President. He was behind the production of “Yo soy Betty la Fea,” the most successful novela in Colombia’s history, which has aired in more than 90 countries, and has been remade into 21 different versions, including the English-language “Ugly Betty” in the U.S.

During his tenure as President, he has diversified the network to include in its portfolio thematic networks such as NTN24, TV Colombia and RCN Novelas.

Posted in People, Programming, TV & RadioComments (3)

Saccone named President of MundoFox

Fox International Channels (FIC) and the RCN Television Group (RCN) today announced they have appointed Emiliano Saccone as President of MundoFox.

In his new post, Emiliano will oversee the broadcast network and its programming. He will be responsible for growing MundoFox’s ratings and reach.

Emiliano joins MundoFox after serving as President of Entertainment and Executive Vice President of Content for Fox International Channels, where he has worked for the past 13 years.

In his former role, he oversaw the production houses Fox Toma 1 and Fox Telecolombia, which produced series such as KDabra (Fox Latin America), El Capo (RCN), Tabu (NatGeo), La Mariposa (Univision) and Mental (FOX), the only U.S. broadcast network series ever produced entirely in Latin America.

MundoFox is scheduled to launch during the fall season of 2012. Earlier this month, FIC and RCN announced they had secured affiliates in 20 DMAs for the network, representing over 40% of U.S. Hispanic households.

Posted in People, TV & RadioComments Off on Saccone named President of MundoFox

MundoFox announces first affiliates

Six weeks since Fox International Channels and the RCN Television Group (RCN) announced they were teaming up to launch MundoFox, the new network has secured affiliates in 20 DMAs covering nearly 40% of US Hispanic households.

MundoFox has released a list of its first affiliate agreements and just as I reported last week, KWHY-22 in Los Angeles will be the network’s flagship station, in the #1 Hispanic market.

In Miami, the #3 Hispanic DMA,  MundoFox struck a deal to air its programming on AméricaTeVe, WJAN-41.

The list of the current affiliates includes stations in San Antonio (#7), San Francisco (#8), Phoenix (#9), Sacramento (#11), Fresno (#14), Tampa (#20), Las Vegas (#23), West Palm Beach (#28), Bakersfield (#31), Monterey (#34), Fort Myers (#37), Palm Springs (#39), Odessa (#43), Santa Barbara (#45), Lubbock (#51), Boise (#71), Abilene (#78) and San Angelo (#92).

All affiliates in the top 10 markets are Full Power stations or are fully distributed in cable and satellite.

Although the network hasn’t released the exact stations in those markets, it says Hero Broadcasting, Cocola Broadcasting and Prime Time Partners are among the affiliates.

New York City is missing from the initial round of agreements, but according to a MundoFox press release, distribution agreements in the remaining top 50 Hispanic markets across the country are still being finalized.

“In the last 20 years, no U.S. broadcast network has secured such a large footprint so quickly without assistance from O&O stations,” said Hernán López, President and CEO of Fox International Channels in a statement.  “Interest in MundoFox has been tremendous, and we now expect to exceed our original goal of securing distribution in 75% of U.S. Hispanic households by launch.”

Posted in Programming, TV & RadioComments Off on MundoFox announces first affiliates

López talks with Media Moves about MundoFox

Hernán López, President and CEO         Fox International Channels

News that Fox International Channels (FIC) and Colombia’s RCN Television Group (RCN) are launching MundoFox, a new Spanish-language network targeting U.S. Hispanics, has caused a lot of commotion.

To learn more about the new venture, Media Moves talked to FIC’s President and CEO, Hernán López, who’s currently doing the rounds at the 2012 NATPE conference in Miami.

MundoFox will be a full broadcast network with operations based out of Los Angeles.  It is geared to compete against Univision and Telemundo starting in the Fall of 2012.

In the interview, López expresses great confidence the new network will replicate the success Fox achieved after its launch in 1986.

How did this project come about and how long has it been in the works?

We met with RCN about 10 months ago.  They have been licensing their content to Univision for a number of years and to Televisa for a number of years, but they wanted to start direct programming in the U.S.

Meanwhile, we realized the scale of the broadcasting advertising pie was much bigger than in cable and wanted to get a piece of that pie.

We knew that with the power of the Fox brand, our access to sports and entertainment, married to RCN content, we’d have a winning proposition.

Why try to enter the U.S. Hispanic market now and not before?

If you’re in Latin America, the Fox brand is popular.  Every time someone immigrates to the U.S. from Latin America, they know what the Fox brand stands for when they get here.  There’s no other U.S. Spanish network that can say that.

We haven’t done it before because we didn’t have a partner like RCN.  We also didn’t see the overwhelming demand from advertisers for more Spanish content before now.

If something convinced us that we needed to get in this market, it was the 2010 census. It took us over the edge.  When we saw that 50% of the population growth came from Latinos… we realized we couldn’t afford to not be part of this advertising marketplace.

“Kdabra” is a fantasy-themed weekly drama that will air on MundoFox.

Latinos who are bilingual and Spanish dominant that today are watching the main broadcasting channels.  We’re also going after English-language program watchers, who are looking for quality shows like the ones we have a history of producing and want to see that type of programming in Spanish.

For example, Fox International channels has been producing the very successful “Kdabra,” a weekly drama with high production values, popular in Mexico.  When we produced it, we had to air it at the same time slot as “24” or “Bones.”  The kind of quality of those shows is what we had to live up to.

What challenges do you envision in getting distribution of the network in the U.S.?

I don’t see any difficulty getting distribution.  The reception in the past 48 hours since we announced the launch of MundoFox… we have had an overwhelming demand.

We’re looking to attract stations that want to switch from their current programming or are interested in going from being an independent to a Mundo Fox affiliate.

Our preference is to go with full-power stations already broadcasting in Spanish.

I don’t believe we’re going to get stations to switch from Univision programming. They’re the market leader.  But there are many other stations that have lower-rated programs and don’t have the power of the Fox brand or RCN content, that would  benefit from being part of a national network.

What will your programming offerings be and how will they differ from Univision and Telemundo?

Think of Fox 25 years ago when it was launched.  ABC, CBS, NBC were widely successful and were creating great shows.  But there was an opening for Fox.  Fox had to step out of the box to create some exceptional innovative programming like  “Married with Children,” “The Simpsons,” “X-Files,” then came “24,” the first show done narrating in live time.  Then there’s the great success of “American Idol” and  “Glee.”

Throughout the years, Fox has pushed the envelope in creating great programming.

It’s an experiment that’s already proven success.

How effective do you think you’ll be competing against Univision?

We think we will be effective.  We have no illusion of beating Univision in a short amount of time.  They have a huge established audience and they’re really good at what they do.

We think the whole advertising market has room and our entry into the market will help everybody.

You say there’s still room in the advertising pie for another network, but some ad execs would argue they’re not looking to see another “general interest network,” but rather “niche” channels.  How would you respond to that?

Our advertisers have been calling us consistently since the announcement was made.  They’re overwhelmingly in support of the network, saying it’s a great idea. So, I’m absolutely confident there’s room for growth.

An advertiser today told me perhaps currently there won’t be a “must buy,” but there’s an “I want to buy” position for ad buys and that’s significant.

Will there be any original programming produced in the U.S.?

There will be.  We’re looking at a number of formats.  The Shine Group, which produces “The Biggest Loser” will produce their first show in Spanish for us.

Does that mean your first U.S. production will be a reality show?

Most likely, yes.

RCN will be producing two daily newscasts for the network.  Will they be produced in Colombia, or in the U.S.?

RCN has five bureaus in the U.S. already, so we haven’t decided where the newscast will be produced.  But it will be targeted to U.S. Latino audience.

How soon do you expect to have a competitive edge in the U.S.?

“El Capo,” a Fox Telecolombia/RCN production, aired on Telefutura.  With the joint venture, all RCN programming will now be available for air on MundoFox.

I think we’ll have a competitive edge from day one.  If you look at “El Capo,” (A Fox Telecolombia/RCN production) which aired in Telefutura with great ratings, you can see that our programming is successful.

I assure you when Fox was launched 25 years ago, no one thought it would be #1.

Broadcasting is a long-term game.  We don’t need to be # 1 to be profitable.

You’re currently searching for the executive who’ll be running MundoFox.  What are you looking for in the person that will help shape this new venture?

We’re looking for someone with programming and marketing experience, with knowledge of the U.S. Hispanic marketplace, the ability to execute on a plan and launch a network.  We’re confident because the team is already in place. Fox will be doing the sales and distribution and handling legal and government affairs.  We have many of the essential ingredients in place, including great access to content, so from that point of view, whoever ends up running network, we will have already done a lot of work for him or her.

Do you have a more precise launch date other than Fall 2012?

Not yet, but I can say we would like to be launched by the time the Nielsen season starts. We just can’t announce the launch date yet.

We’re still building the programming slate.  We have a pretty good idea what we’re going to air, but we’re not going to disclose it until we’re closer to the launch date.

What are the expectations for MundoFox?

We expect to become a network that viewers go to as a destination, like they go to the Fox network today. We don’t want to be a network viewers casually find themselves watching.  We believe with innovative content and the power of the Fox and RCN brands, we will be a great challenger to the other networks and increase the size of the advertising pie.

About Hernán López: 

He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of FOX International Channels, overseeing a massive international multichannel television organization that operates over 200 channels and their related online and production units. 

Mr. López is responsible for all operations of FIC, which produces channels primarily under the brands Fox, National Geographic Channel, FX, Fox Life, Fox Crime, NatGeo Wild, MovieCity and Star Movies, reaching almost 1 billion subscribers in Latin America, Europe and Asia. He also oversees Fox’s US Hispanic cable networks, Fox Deportes and Utilísima.

Posted in People, Programming, TV & RadioComments Off on López talks with Media Moves about MundoFox

Fox and RCN team up to launch Spanish-language channel in U.S.

MundoFox is the name of a new Spanish-language channel geared to compete against Univision and Telemundo in the U.S. starting the Fall of 2012.

Fox International Channels (FIC) and Colombia’s RCN Television Group (RCN) have teamed up to launch the joint venture, which will include sports programming from Fox Deportes, original scripted series and two newscasts a day produced by RCN’s 24-hour cable-news channel.

According to the Wall Street Journal, MundoFox’s programming will largely will come from RCN and News Corp. production outlets, but the companies will also buy shows from third parties.

According to Variety, a  search is underway for the person who will head MundoFox out of Los Angeles.

Hernán López

Sources told the WSJ both Fox and RCN will contribute cash to fund the network’s operations, which has a projected loss of less than $50 million in its first year.

“There is an increasing demand for quality Spanish-language content in the U.S. from both viewers and advertisers,” Hernan Lopez, President & CEO of Fox International Channels told Variety. “FOX saw similar dynamics in play 25 years ago when it launched the Fox network, and it would be a missed opportunity not to provide an alternative for the 50+ million Latino viewers who currently have limited options in Spanish-language broadcast television…. There is still room for growth in the U.S. Hispanic advertising market.”

More programming details of the new network will be revealed during NATPE in Miami this week.

Posted in Programming, TV & RadioComments (1)

Sent out on Friday morning, weekly newsletter Media Moves Wrap provides a summary of the week's top stories.

Read why Media Moves launched a crowdfunding campaign and why it needs your support.

Veronica Villafañe, Editor and Publisher

I'm an Emmy award-winning journalist, who's worked as an on-air reporter in Spanish and English-language television news. I've worked for Univision, Telemundo, CNN en Español and Los Angeles Fox and UPN stations before diving into a convergence model at the San Jose Mercury News. I was president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists from 2004 to 2006, and inducted into the Hall of Fame in August of 2016. As an online news manager, I was West Coast Web Editor for impreMedia and Managing Editor of IntersectionsSouthLA.org. In addition to running Media Moves, which I founded in June of 2007, I'm a regular contributor to Forbes and also do freelance work as writer, reporter and producer.