Telemundo Surges in Viewership by Looking Beyond the Telenovela and TV

Digital investments are reaching a new audience

Kate del Castillo, and her series Le Reina del Sur, return to Telemundo. Telemundo
Headshot of Chris Ariens

For the last several years, Telemundo has been looking beyond the standard Spanish-language TV fare of sappy Telenovelas and toward a future that may not involve TV much at all. And it’s paying off in greater brand recognition and partnerships with the most popular digital platforms.

At its Upfront Thursday, the network announced several new linear TV shows, including the return of its most popular series ever, La Reina del Sur. But the network spent a significant amount of time focusing on digital platforms geared toward the young, mobile and multicultural audience Spanish-language media covets and brands want to reach. And it doesn’t hurt that parent company NBCU has invested $700 million in BuzzFeed and Snapchat over the last two years.

Telemundo will produce the first Hispanic Snapchat Show; it’s extending its partnership with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures for the series Much Ado about Nada; it’s looking for any, and every, opportunity to exploit its $600 million investment for the next two World Cups including VR programming and a partnership with BuzzFeed’s Tasty; and it’s launched a digital-only bilingual reality dating show called Love Clicks, in which the audience decides if a couple really clicks.

“We are convinced that we uniquely positioned to win in this multicultural world we live in,” said evp of digital and emerging business Peter Blacker.

But the big ad dollars still come in via TV. And since its viewership has grown 10 percent in the first three months of 2017, while Univision has lost 12 percent, Telemundo is poised to take a bigger slice of the Spanish-language advertiser pie during this sales season. “We are on track to have our best season ever in 18-49 and 18-34 and continue to grow double digits,” said NBCU International Group chairman Cesar Conde.

“Brands who shift their ad dollars are reaching prospects in ways they haven’t before,” added Laura Molen, evp of lifestyle and Hispanic advertising for NBCU.

Molen shared results of a case study that showed Telemundo viewers are more connected and more educated than Univision viewers, which leads to greater brand love. “Hispanic viewers are opening their hearts to Telemundo,” she said.

The network announced 13 new series, several of which touch on the topics of gang violence and drug trafficking. “Some of those tougher themes do very well,” said Telemundo president Luis Silberwasser defending the slate. “But that’s not the only thing we have on the schedule. We do very well with comedies and continue to explore other areas,” he said.

@ChrisAriens Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.