Immediately after its Sunday night premiere, three of Telemundo's advertisers expanded their commitments to include La Voz Kids. Ford, State Farm and AT&T will now buy the Hispanic spinoff of big sister network NBC's The Voice, in addition to their current deals on the network.
Looking to the upfront, network president Emilio Romano said that he hopes increased awareness of the demographic gives the network an edge as it negotiates not just against other Hispanic networks but other broadcasters as well. "We’re confident that we’re going to be able to expand the Spanish dollars in the media pie," Romano told Adweek. There's significant room for growth, too. "We have just one third of the advertisers (in the general market), so we have that long way to go."
The two-hour show grew ratings-wise over the course of its airtime, from about 400,000 viewers to about 700,000 during its final half-hour in the Hispanic market's important 18-34 demo. It's a pretty clear shot across the bow at Univision's beauty contest show, Nuestra Belleza Latina, which built just ahead of the new show as La Voz entered its second hour and Nuestra Bellaza Latina began.
Ford's multicultural manager for U.S. marketing, Dave Rodriguez, said that the company has been working on its integration with La Voz for months. "This all started last year as part of the 2012-13 upfront, I guess, so it’s been a long time in the making," he said. "Our vehicle is going to play a key role in the behind-the-scenes stories of the families, and the visiting of the contestants with (the show's hosts) Daisy and Jorge."
Rodriguez said that the auto giant was bullish on the Hispanic market, especially after looking at the data. "The automotive landscape now is pretty exciting—the rate of growth of the Hispanic automotive market is actually outpacing the growth of the general market, not in terms of necessary volume, but just in terms of growth," he said, "and we want to make sure we remain relevant with the right features and the right attitudes."
La Voz, according to Rodriguez, is a good fit whether or not the kids watching are headed over to the dealership the next day. "The young group this represents in terms of the kids—they may not all be car buyers, but with this being more of a family platform, there’s tremendous opportunity."
Where Univision has a major lead in market share, Telemundo has corporate synergy: the broadcaster and its sibling network Mun2 act like a mini-company within the larger NBCUniversal structure, and there's plenty of cross-promotion with the general market, as exemplified by La Voz in particular. "That is a very interesting element that we’re going to be focusing on very much more this year," Romano said. Telemundo's next order of business is to amp up its novela production even further in the hope of competing with Univision's long-running (and lucrative) partnership with Televisa, which has many of the major stars in the Spanish-language market.
Romano said he wants Telemundo to compete with the same kinds of production values American Hispanics can find in the general market. "We’re working on getting more star power and more production quality," he said. "Our novelas are at a different level now than they were two years ago."