Hernan Lopez, President and CEO, Fox International Channels
Lopez's rise underscores powerful combo of management skill and growing global prominence of his division
By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/27/2011 12:01:00 AMClick here to read more Next Wave of Leaders
Hernan Lopez’s rise to president and CEO of Fox International Channels (FIC) this year in the restructuring following Tony Vinciquerra’s exit as chairman-CEO of Fox Networks Group highlights both Lopez’s skill as a manager and the growing importance of international markets for Fox and News Corp.
While few people outside the international cable sector are familiar with Fox’s recent global expansion, Lopez’s division now operates more than 180 channels that reach more than 300 million subs in 35 languages around the world.
That has firmly established FIC as one of the company’s fastest-growing areas, producing about half a billion dollars in operating income in the 12 months ended March 31, 2011, and about $1.5 billion in revenue.
Lopez is also looking for ways to use international channels and programming to help Fox’s domestic businesses. In March 2009, Lopez set up the Fox Hispanic Media Group, which includes three Spanish-language channels, in a bid to challenge the supremacy of Univision and Telemundo in the U.S. Hispanic market.
Comparing the effort to the launch of Fox and its success in breaking the stranglehold of the big three Englishlanguage broadcast networks, Lopez argues that “we see the exact same situation in the U.S. Hispanic market today, where the three established networks have more to lose than to gain from taking creative risks.”
Lopez landed in the international cable business somewhat by accident, originally studying advertising in school and hoping to become a copywriter when he graduated in 1989. But he quickly migrated to the sales side and established a reputation for innovative approaches to selling cable advertising.
After he was named general manager of the Fox Latin American Channel in 2000, revenue increased ninefold. Since then he has overseen a rapid expansion of the company’s channels, first in the Latin American region and then internationally, as FIC’s chief operating officer. In January, he took over the division’s top job, as president and CEO.
To maintain the division’s rapid growth, Lopez is looking to expand the bouquets of channels they offer in their major territories, to expand their original programming and to ramp up their multiplatform and digital efforts. All of this is with a specific earmark in mind: “We have set the goal of becoming the first international cable operation to pull in $1 billion in operating income by 2015.”
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