May 18th, 2011

TV Steps Up Pitch to Hispanic Market

The New York Times

AS television executives peddle their coming programs to advertisers this week, before the start of the 2011-12 season, their sales spiels are taking on a decided Spanish accent.

Networks and channels with programming aimed at Hispanic viewers have been part of the annual “upfront” weeks for several years. But this time, there are as many presentations from Spanish-language programmers (five) as there are from English-language broadcasters.

There were two on Tuesday, from Fox Hispanic Media and Telemundo, and three scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, from Discovery U.S. Hispanic, Vme and Univision.

Another Hispanic channel, CNN en Español, threw a party for advertisers last Thursday at a hotel in Manhattan’s meatpacking district.

Also, networks that go to market predominantly in English are devoting significant sections of their glossy presentations to Hispanic properties. For instance, ESPN Deportes was featured prominently on Tuesday during the ESPN upfront presentation in Times Square.

Media and marketers are demonstrating increased interest in Hispanic consumers because of the results of the 2010 census, which showed strong continued growth among the Spanish-speaking population.

Another sign of that on Tuesday was an announcement from the J. M. Smucker Company — the purveyor of heartland pantry staples like Smucker’s, Crisco and Folgers — that it would spent $360 million to buy Rowland Coffee Roasters, which specializes in Hispanic brands like Cafe Bustelo and Cafe Pilon.

“One out of every five sports fans is Hispanic,” Jorge Ramos, a host on the ESPN Deportes channel, said during the ESPN presentation.

Of the 28.5 million Hispanics who watch ESPN, he added, 5.4 million watch ESPN Deportes exclusively.

ESPN, part of the Walt Disney Company, said it would introduce the first original scripted series for ESPN Deportes, “El Diez,” or “Ten,” about a young soccer player who makes it big in Mexico City. The star of the series is Alfonso Herrera, an actor who was a member of a popular Mexican pop band, RBD.

The Telemundo Communications Group, a division of the NBCUniversal unit of Comcast, centered its presentation on Tuesday for the Telemundo broadcast network and Mun2 cable channel on a concept that executives described as “The Shift,” as in shifting demographics.

“This is a new America,” said Don Browne, president at Telemundo, adding: “These numbers are not just numbers. These numbers are transforming our communities.”

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