As guests left the Telemundo upfront last night at the Museum of Natural History (the first upfront the network held in three years), they were handed shirts in packages with the words “Be Part of The Shift” printed on the front, as parting gifts. That pretty much encapsulated the main talking point of the evening. “We are at the leading edge of the most important demographic shift in modern media history,” said Lauren Zalaznick, head of NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media.
Zalaznick pointed out that the Hispanic market tops 1 trillion dollars in the U.S. And yet as the demographic tide has shifted, the American networks have been slow to adapt. It was only this past April that NBCU launched its "Hispanics at NBCU" marketing campaign, for example.
The evening presentation reinforced the message that the NBCU now "gets" the Hispanic audience. Telemundo unveiled a raft of new programs, including four telenovellas (which have traditionally been the bread and butter of Telemundo’s scripted programming). These include Amore de Pelicula (Love . . . Just Like in the Movies), a romance about a love-struck couple from different backgrounds fighting to overcome workplace and romantic challenges in their efforts to be together; and Una Maid en Manhattan (A Maid in Manhattan), a series based loosely on the premise of the 2002 movie of same name that starred Jennifer Lopez.
New specials were also announced, including a partnership with Adweek sister publication Billboard to extend its production relationship for the Billboard Latin Music Awards. And, of course, Telemundo reaffirmed its commitment to sports, continuing its successful soccer coverage (Telemundo is the home of Chivas Guadalahara and the Mexican national soccer teams) and introducing a new partnership with the NFL to bring Hispanic-focused football-related programming to the network.
Perhaps one of the most interesting portions of the upfront came when it was time for Telemundo’s sister network Mun2 to present; it focuses on a bilingual demographic in the 18-34 range. Mun2 renewed its high-rated scripted show RPM Miami and announced plans for the production of a new reality music competition. As the Latino demographic continues to grow in the U.S., it seems clear that more and more it will be bilingual and bicultural offerings like the kind offered on Mun2 that will be increasingly important to the network’s growth in the growing Latino market. As Zalaznick said just before she closed the upfront, “This market is the future of our industry, [and] the real future of our company. We mean it.”