New Network Has Right Accent for Advertisers

MundoFox upfront sales to 50 marketers are said to exceed plan
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Ad buyers say MundoFox is shaking up the Spanish-language TV market, and they are putting their money where their mouths are.

“Most of our major clients are defi nitely partners with the launch,” says Brett Dennis, chief media communications officer at Conill, a major multicultural agency.

The money that is going to MundoFox— the broadcast competitor to Univision and Telemundo that News Corp. and RCN are launching this month—“definitely is money that we channeled from other broadcast options,” Dennis says. Having another player in the market “makes everybody work hard for the dollars.”

Lou LaTorre, president of cable ad sales for Fox Networks Group, says MundoFox has more than doubled its budget targets for the upfront and will have more than 50 upfront advertisers on the air, including charter sponsors Toyota, L’Oreal and T-Mobile. “We knew the marketplace would embrace it, but they’re spooning it. They just love this brand,” LaTorre says.

The new network is taking a bite out of a large and growing market. Last year’s Spanish-language broadcast upfront generated sales of about $2 billion, according to David Joyce, analyst at Miller Tabak + Co.

Buyers say MundoFox is offering more flexibility than established networks.

Getting in on the ground floor with a new network means clients get good prices. But MundoFox is offering other benefits as well. The network will allow advertisers to run commercials in either Spanish or English, something the more traditional Hispanic broadcast networks resist, says Lia Silkworth, senior VP, managing director at Tapestry, a multicultural division of SMG Group.

MundoFox will also start out subscribed to Nielsen and guarantee ratings comparable to competitors, Silkworth says. It is also offering daypart guarantees.

And as a new network, it’s coming to the market with a slate of familiar programming from RCN that has drawn big ratings before.

“I don’t know that we’re seeing it as completely unproven,” Silkworth says. “It strengthens our marketplace to have more choices, especially when it’s a network coming on board that’s backed by News Corp.”

Conill’s Dennis also likes the network’s programming plans. “One of the things we hear from Hispanics oftentimes is that they would have watched more Spanishlanguage television if the production quality were a little bit higher,” he says.

Dennis says MundoFox is looking for more ways to integrate clients with programming. “They’re very open to thinking about commercial time in a different way outside of the traditional 30-second, 15-second delivery systems,” he says.

Tom Maney, senior VP of advertising sales at Fox Hispanic Media, says MundoFox has aimed to work in a collaborative way with advertisers.

Maney says the network will start running advertising on Aug 12. The first spot belongs to 20th Century Fox for its film Won’t Back Down. “We’re doing some really innovative stuff with 20th Century Fox,” Maney says.

Upfront deals go into effect Oct. 1, but MundoFox will start running sponsors’ spots before that for free, Maney says: “We’re going to start to bonus them to say thank you.”