The shared model of the Google-owned platform has delivered the Hispanic media brand meaningful revenue from YouTube. But its main value has been as a targeted marketing vehicle, especially given the firm embrace of digital technology by Telemundo’s core audience. The potency of the network’s YouTube presence is now being mobilized for the national launch of Peacock this month.
Eight of Telemundo’s 11 YouTube channels have at least one million subscribers. The mother ship is now at 10.6 million, up from 1 million in 2015, and the next-biggest, one dedicated to court show Caso Cerrado (Case Closed), is approaching the 10 million mark. The total portfolio is at 35 million and counting.
In an interview with Deadline, EVP of Revenue Strategy & Innovation Peter Blacker said the Hispanic media company’s strategic approach to YouTube has passed through three distinct phases over time. First came experimentation as all of traditional media looked to see if digital video could be a friend instead of a foe. Then came a phase of driving toward scale. More recently, an emphasis has been placed on building communities and an editorial voice.
While some full episodes have appeared on YouTube, the platform is more of a “doorway or bridge to our full-length programming,” Blacker said, with recaps or other short-form pieces getting passed around by what the network calls “200%-ers — viewers aged 18 to 34 who are 100% Latino and 100% American and express their cultural ties by tuning into Spanish-language TV.”
Those viewers are being encouraged to download Peacock, NBCU’s streaming service, when it expands nationally on July 15 after an initial debut in April in parent Comcast’s Xfinity footprint. Telemundo will account for about one-fifth of Peacock’s projected 15,000 hours of film and TV content on its premium tier, some 3,000 hours. Among the offerings are new original Armas de Mujer, a dramedy from the makers of juggernaut La Reina del Sur, plus library titles such as 100 Dias Para Enamorarnos, Betty en NY, El Barón and Preso No. 1.
Blacker, who has been at Telemundo for nearly 15 years, worked with colleagues to unlock the value of the library on digital platforms. Unlike other broadcasters, Telemundo also produces most of its slate, so its ability to monetize it often brings higher margins.
“Our audience members are pioneers of mobile usage, as are all Hispanics,” Blacker said. “We wanted to do some innovative stuff to tell that group about Peacock. So we created a cast reunion bringing together some of the top talent in the history of Telemundo.” Individually and across Telemundo’s YouTube challenges, talent recorded new teasers for their shows’ imminent arrival on Peacock.
Nostalgia during COVID-19 quarantine has been a potent draw, as most programmers have discovered. A two-hour cast reunion in May of Silvana sin lana, a 2016 telenovela, drew an audience that was 72% 18-to-34-year-olds and generated 14,000 watch-time hours, Blacker said.
From YouTube’s end, partnerships with companies like NBCUniversal and Telemundo are a key part of their broader effort to make the giant video platform fully palatable to major advertisers. Last week, the company announced several new initiatives. In a blog post, Vishal Sharma, VP of product management for YouTube Ads, said YouTube Select, a newer version of Google Preferred, an effort to hive off premium content and highlight it for advertisers. “With more content, capabilities and certainty, YouTube Select offers an easier way for you to authentically connect with your audience at scale,” Sharma wrote.