NATPE Panel Explores Telemundo Programming Strategy


Telemundo executives Cisco Suarez, Romina Rosado and Luis Fernandez discussed how the network is serving U.S. Hispanic audiences with reality, news and digital media in a NATPE panel moderated by World Screen’s Anna Carugati.

Titled “Innovating Content for an Evolving Audience,” the panel featured Suarez, executive VP of primetime realities and specials at NBCU Telemundo Enterprises; Rosado, senior VP of digital at NBCU Telemundo Network Group; and Fernandez, executive VP of news at Telemundo Network.

The U.S. Hispanic audience is a young one, Rosado said. “According to Nielsen, the median age of the non-Hispanic [viewer] is 43; the median age of the U.S. Hispanic [viewer] is 28. There are around 50,000 U.S. Hispanics who turn 18 every month. It’s an incredibly young population.”

These audiences over-index in digital technologies and social media, and for them, “television is still a communal experience.”

Unscripted programming has been a key highlight of the Telemundo schedule, Rosado said, including La Voz and Exatlón, both of which have gained significant traction on social media.  “We’re reaching people not only on the linear screen but also putting up content on the platforms where these people are, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. We’re creating content that is native to that platform.”

On working with Peacock, Rosado said there will be more than 3,000 hours of Telemundo content on the upcoming platform. “We’re going to be able to create some really interesting and unique programming to reach not just the traditional Telemundo viewer but also English-language viewers who are consuming our content anyway with subtitling or dubbing.”

Asked about serving audiences through the local stations in an election year, Fernandez noted, “Noticias Telemundo is there to empower our community with information,” particularly around key issues such as immigration, employment, healthcare and climate change.

Telemundo’s entertainment shows have garnered big audiences, including the format-based Exatlón, which airs six days a week. “I think its success comes from it being a family-oriented format,” said Suarez. “There are really very few formats that unite the family in front of the TV.” As the show heads into its fourth season, Suarez noted, “We’re constantly creating new challenges, new parkours, bringing in higher-quality professionals as contestants. [The show is] addictive.”

Rosado went on to discuss how crucial live events are for Telemundo in sports and entertainment. “Cisco and his team do the Latin Billboard Awards and the Latin Music Awards, and those are the moments where I think Telemundo really shines. It shows our total audience story. And what I mean by that is how with one piece of IP you can reach a variety of audiences on a variety of platforms.”

Fernandez said that audiences trust Telemundo as a news source amid all the misinformation that can be found on social media, with the broadcaster having a strong fact-checking team as well as a deep association with NBC News.

On Telemundo’s success with advertisers, Suarez noted, “It has to do with the formats we are producing, their quality and the ratings. We are bringing in new stories. We have formats that appeal to the whole family. So when you’re advertising in one of those shows, you’re reaching the youngest to the oldest. That opens up opportunities to promote any products. That’s the case of La Voz and Exatlón. We are looking for those kinds of formats. We’re also working on new formats that we’ll be producing soon that are also geared to the entire family. We have big sponsors like Pepsi for La Voz. We format these shows to open up opportunities for product integration as well, so it has really been a win-win for everybody.”

Rosado said she’s seen a “real shift toward having a large linear component as well as lots of digital integrations. Last year we created a digital content development group. We’re not just taking our linear IP and creating digital experiences. We’re also coming up with digital-first formats, one of which is Latinx Now, which is on YouTube and linear, it’s in English and Spanish, and we co-produce it with E!” Telemundo will also have two unscripted shows on Quibi: a newscast in English for next-generation Hispanic audiences and an entertainment show focused on Latin music.