In a live-streamed news conference ahead of NBCUniversal’s upfront on Monday, Telemundo’s top executives discussed “closing the gap” with longtime rival Univision in primetime, plugged next month’s World Cup and laid out several new programming and digital initiatives.
Plenty of programming news was broken, including a new version of the show that inspired ABC’s Ugly Betty, plus a Spanish-language spin on NBC singing-competition mainstay The Voice. The company also said it had forged a new pact with Hulu that will bring 3,000 hours of Telemundo programming to the streaming service.
But the prevailing theme was about the connection Telemundo across its news, sports, digital and entertainment divisions has forged with Hispanic audiences.
“We have many reasons to be bullish on all things Hispanic,” said Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. “Hispanics have moved from being a demographic story to an economic story.” Telemundo, he added, “is the only media company that has kept pace with Hispanics’ changing demands and needs as avid media consumers. Hispanic media consumption is no longer about habit, it’s about choice, and Telemundo is now both the choice and voice of the Latino of today.”
Univision will have a rebuttal of sorts this afternoon, when it hosts its own pre-upfronts press call.
Along with the Betty re-do, Luis Silberwasser, president of the Telemundo network and Universo channel, revealed several other ambitious scripted titles, including El Recluso (The Inmate). He also said the network will invest further in its “super series,” pricier, edgier productions that have helped Telemundo beat Univision at 10PM over the past three years.
Peter Blacker, EVP of digital media and emerging business for Telemundo, announced The Mix, a collaboration between Telemundo and E that will feature both English and Spanish.
Laura Molen, executive VP of lifestyle and Hispanic ad sales at NBCU, highlighted stats on the Hispanic marketplace. U.S. Hispanics, according to one recent projection, will have $1.9 trillion in spending power by 2022, up from $1 trillion in 2010. The audience also has strong preferences that favor Telemundo, Molen added — 61% of Hispanics said in a survey that general market ads “do not resonate,” she said, and 4 in 10 watch no English-language TV.
As the network approaches its first exclusive window for Spanish-language World Cup coverage, Molen said ad inventory for the Russia-hosted tournament in June is “approaching 90% sold.” The company plans to create “new digital opportunities during the games,” and is also starting to count down to its broadcast of the 2019 women’s World Cup from France.
Blacker also announced a third digital project, along with the Hulu deal and the E! He said Telemundo will create a “first-ever multi-platform, bilingual, female empowerment series” with the working title of Fuerza. The 14-week series, which will be distributed across digital and social platforms, including YouTube, Twitter and Snap, will feature the stories of multicultural women leading up to the Women’s World Cup.