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Hispanic TV Summit: ESPN's Keller Wants to Break Down Walls Between English and Spanish Programming - Broadcasting & Cable

Hispanic TV Summit: ESPN's Keller Wants to Break Down Walls Between English and Spanish Programming

Talks about Hispanic audience crossing over from ESPN Deportes to ESPN
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New York -- ESPN's Hispanic audience has grown 39% in the past four
years, and with the U.S. Hispanic population boom, it's only bound to get
stronger.

That's what Traug
Keller, ESPN's senior VP of production and business divisions, told the audience
in a keynote discussion moderated by ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike In the
Morning
cohost Mike Greenberg at B&C/MCN's ninth annual Hispanic
TV Summit here on Tuesday.

Greenberg began
the discussion by stating, "ESPN's mission is to serve sports fans, all
sports fans, wherever they are."

Keller said the latest census figures indicate that over the last 10 years, the U.S.
Hispanic population has grown by 56%, making it the fastest growing demo in the
country. Over the next 40 years, that number is projected to grow 167%. Keller
said that in 30 years, one of every three U.S. sports fans will be Hispanic.

Keller explained
that ESPN uses the same
techniques to appeal to Hispanic sports fans as it used to reach American sports fans.

"We want to get inside the
mindset, find the likes, dislikes, passions, the things that
drive him," Keller said. "Nobody spends
more time with the American male than we do, including their
wives and children."

In about a third
of the households, the U.S. Hispanic male is the primary shopper. In fact,
according to Keller, the Hispanic fan "has greater reception to advertising
then [the] non-Hispanic sports fan."

Keller broke down Hispanic fans into three separate groups: English-dominant, U.S.-born;
Bi-cultural, U.S.-born; and Spanish-dominant, non-U.S.-born. He said the
English-dominant fan "has the highest
relationship with ESPN," but that the bi-cultural fan represents "the greatest
opportunity," because that demographic uses both ESPN and ESPN Deportes
platforms.

ESPN's next move,
Keller said, is to bridge the gap between the Hispanic fan and the
non-Hispanic fan. "[It's] not just [about] ESPN Deportes, [it's also about]
ESPN," he said, adding that ESPN wanted to move past relying solely on
soccer and boxing (two of the most popular sports among Hispanic fans),
especially when it comes to football.

ESPN's Monday Night Football audience has more than doubled in
the past year-and-a-half, Keller said. The games are broadcast on both ESPN and ESPN
Deportes with separate broadcast teams.

Two other recent
developments that illustrate ESPN's attempt to "synergize" both platforms include
Adrianna Monsalve of ESPN Deportes' Nación ESPN making appearances on
Sportsnation, which runs on ESPN 2; and a new program in ESPN 2's afternoon lineup, Dan Le BetardIs Highly
Questionable
, features Le
Betard and his father -- who doesn't speak a word of English -- debating sports
topics. Keller said that show "indexes as the highest show on ESPN for
Hispanics."

Knowing that soccer
is the culture's most popular sport, Keller made sure to say that while
ESPN is expanding its reach, it still understands what most Hispanics prefer.
The network's World Cup coverage saw 36% growth among Hispanics between
2006 and 2010, compared to only about 25% for non-Hispanics. During its recent
broadcast of the exhibition match between the U.S. and Mexican national teams,
ESPN 2  featured a Hispanic commentator on their
English-speaking broadcast team.

Keller ended the discussion saying that with all the different channels out
there, "regardless of language, the number of signs you have out there pointing
to where to find your content is absolutely critical.

"Programming
doesn't know a language," Keller said. "It's about the content."

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