Fusion’s Chief Content Officer Serves a Rising American Mainstream

Camila Jiménez Villa bridges languages, audiences and platforms

As chief content officer at Fusion Media Group, Camila Jiménez Villa is a champion of edgy TV and digital brands.
Phillip Angert

Adweek: Talk about your work as supervisor of Univision Story House, which creates scripted and unscripted content for English and Spanish TV
Camila Jiménez Villa: Story House launched about a year ago. It’s focused on finding stories which resonate with young, multicultural audiences, but also have the potential to appeal to the general market. I think we have shown in the first year of our existence an ability to work across that spectrum, whether it’s with Outpost, the unscripted English-language series we did for Fusion and HBO, or El Chapo, our first Spanish-language scripted drama we’re co-producing with Netflix. For us, it’s about storytelling. It doesn’t matter what language for what platform.

How do you craft a cohesive message for advertisers considering you have so many different brands under one umbrella?
This portfolio is still pretty new, and as a result there are some challenges selling to advertisers because the properties had not previously been sold together. That said, it’s pretty simple to explain the value proposition of each because ultimately these are all brands that have something in common amongst themselves, which is a rooted brand presence with a specific audience. Each one is compelling and courageous in their approach. Every content creator, whether it’s for Gizmodo, Univision or Fusion, has a “fearless” quality that’s in their DNA, and there’s a back-and-forth conversation with their audiences. When you start talking about our brands that way, it becomes easy to explain to an advertiser why the value proposition works and why it’s important to partner with us if you want to reach young Americans.

A lot of these brands come from Gawker Media, a company that was sued and went bankrupt before Univision bought it. How do you deal with fears advertisers may have when deciding if they should partner with brands that hail from that company?
Look, Gawker.com is not a brand we own. There are many other brands from the Gawker Media portfolio we now have, and whether it’s Jezebel or Jalopnik or Lifehacker, I think all of them are great for advertisers. The way we talk about them is that they all deliver compelling journalism or content that at the very core is courageous and has that trust and connection with the audience because each brand is honest, irreverent and authentic. This is how we speak to our advertisers, and it’s been proven and seen in our numbers that there’s a passion for the brands that resonates, and you see it in our demographics and in our stats.

The role of the news media is a hot topic these days. How does Univision and Fusion coverage of current events stand out from the other media outlets? 
At Univision, we are unashamed advocates for the Hispanic community and there’s nothing more important to Univision News than providing the right level of access to information for them. This mindset is something that has been driving the company for almost 60 years, and it’s especially important for the Hispanic community in the United States at this point in time. Fusion has a similar mindset because there has not been a more important time to elevate underrepresented voices and to give voice to issues and stories that matter to the communities and people we serve. If you look at America today, about half of people under 30 are nonwhite. The concept of a “niche community” doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s important for us to elevate those voices and make sure they’re in our edit teams, writers’ rooms, and that we are talking about issues which impact those communities.

Specs
Current gig
Co-president and chief content officer, Fusion Media Group
Previous gig
Vp of special projects, Univision
Twitter
@camila_cjv
Age 34

This story first appeared in the May 15, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.