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.”