Hispanic Broadcasters Eye NATPE DealsMajor players expect to supplement existing deals in Miami 1/28/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Latin American deals have taken center stage
at the NATPE conference in recent years, but
among the channels targeting the rapidly growing
Hispanic market in the U.S. the importance of the
industry gathering varies widely.
Even though the number of Hispanic channels has increased
dramatically in the last decade, to 114 last fall
(according to B&C’s most recent Guide to Hispanic Networks,
Oct. 1, 2012), many of these services draw on programming
produced by their parent companies in Latin
America or have access to large libraries or output deals
that require them to buy little outside programming at
NATPE. The conference is taking place Jan. 28-30 at the
Fontainebleau Resort in Miami (its third straight year at
the site), a major hub for Hispanic media.
Yet programming and acquisition executives for the
two largest Hispanic broadcasters, Univision and Telemundo,
stressed that NAPTE remains a vital place to
meet producers and distributors of programming. Executives
at some of the newer channels, such as News
Corp.’s MundoFox, reported that they have scheduled
a full slate of meetings.
“It is a very important meeting place where all the industry
leaders come together,” said Cesar Conde, president
of Univision Networks. “It is an important way to
hear about some of the trends and to engage with some of
the producers and content genres that are getting traction.”
Deals in Place, Shopping for More
Univision is one of several Hispanic broadcasters that
are coming to NATPE with many key programming
deals already in place. For example, Televisa, the largest
broadcaster in Mexico and one of the world’s largest
producers of telenovelas, supplies many of Univision’s
most popular primetime novelas.
Likewise, Telemundo produces six to seven primetime
novelas a year at its in-house studios. And MundoFox,
which launched last year, gets almost all of its primetime
scripted series from the Colombian broadcaster
and producer RCN.
That, however, won’t stop all three broadcasters from
looking for additional programming at the NATPE
meeting. Univision has been rapidly expanding the
number of networks it offers, from two broadcast and
one cable channel to 12 linear channels over the past
18 months. In early January, Univision rebranded its
Telefutura network as UniMás.
As part of those efforts, the company has expanded
its original production at Univision Studios and established
closer ties with independent producers. “In the
past year, we have signed two of the other leading producers
of content from Latin America for UniMás,” the
Colombian producers Caracol TV and RCI, Conde said.
And with NATPE taking place close to Telemundo
headquarters, Maria Iregui, VP of programming and
scheduling, believes it provides an excellent opportunity
to meet with outside producers and distributors.
While Telemundo is always looking for new ideas,
“we are acquiring mainly movies…kids programming
and entertainment formats,” Iregui added.
For originals, Telemundo is focusing on novelas that
have been specifically produced for the U.S. Hispanic
market, explained Joshua Mintz, executive VP, scripted
programming and general manager, Telemundo Studios.
These story lines also tend to be more realistic and
involve a significant amount of location shooting. “Telenovelas
can’t just be a Cinderella story anymore,” Mintz
said. “They need to reflect what is happening in the dayto-
day lives of U.S. Hispanics.” As part of that trend,
Mintz noted that Telemundo recently started production
on El Señor de los Cielos (The Lord of the Skies), which is
being shot entirely on location in Mexico.
Generally, about 60% of the company’s other novelas
are now shot on location, which has boosted production
values as well as international sales efforts at
NATPE and other markets, Mintz said.
At NATPE, MundoFox will be focusing on “teleseries”
that have a fixed length of 50 to 80 episodes,
much less than the typical telenovela, which generally
has more than 100 chapters, noted Emiliano Saccone,
These series tend to cost more per episode. “It gives
you more room to do all the things that appeal to men,
such as shooting on location and having a significant
amount of action,” Saccone said.
Even though RCN supplies most of MundoFox’s
primetime schedule, Adriana Ibañez, executive VP, programming,
noted that the network will be meeting with
a number of other distributors and producers during
NATPE to fill open programming time slots on weekends
and in daytime.
Teleseries and game shows are both on the shopping
list. “Teleseries have been very successful in the last four
or five years in reinventing the telenovela,” Ibañez said.
Hooray for Hollywood
Jeff Meier, senior VP of programming at Sony Movie
Channel and Cine Sony Television, noted that the Cine
Sony channel launched last year with the simple programming
proposition of supplying the best Hollywood
movies dubbed into Spanish.
“There is a huge audience for Hollywood movies, and
we’ve been able to differentiate ourselves as serving up
blockbuster Hollywood movies in Spanish,” Meier said.
Because the channel currently has all the films it
needs for the next few months from Sony, Meier wasn’t
planning to attend the NATPE market. But he will be
talking to Sony’s Latin American executives based in
Miami about the programming they see at the conference.
He is also looking to cut deals for films this year
with other studios. The service might also consider
adding music or TV series in the future.
Digital rights are becoming more important in all of
these deals, both at NATPE and during the rest of the
year, because Hispanics are much heavier users of mobile
and online video, said several executives.
In addition to digital rights, Hispanic broadcasters are
also looking to work closely with producers on “secondscreen
experiences and added digital features like bonus
content or Web exclusives,” said Glenda Pacanins, VP of
programming strategy integration at Telemundo.
“We have to get our content available on every platform,”
added Saccone, noting that MundoFox is working
on a TV Everywhere offering.