Telemundo’s Luis Silberwasser Talks Super Series & More


Luis Silberwasser, the president of Telemundo Network and Universo Channel who also oversees Telemundo Studios, talks to TV Latina about satisfying the needs of new generations of bilingual Hispanics.

TV LATINA: Is it safe to say that Telemundo Network’s performance in the last year is the best in its history?
SILBERWASSER: Yes, 2016 was a very successful year for Telemundo. It was historic. In mid-July, we launched three new products on the same night in what we called MarTres. This new offering made us the number one channel in prime time in the U.S. Hispanic market for many consecutive months, something that we hadn’t achieved before. We were very happy with how we closed the year, with the shortest distance ever between Telemundo and our main competitor. In 2010, the difference between us was over 1 million impressions [among viewers] 18 to 49. Currently, we’re talking about no more than a difference of 50,000 to 100,000 impressions.

TV LATINA: How has the U.S. Hispanic audience changed in the last five years, and how has this impacted your programming decisions?
SILBERWASSER: Telemundo has been able to adapt to the changes in the market. Currently, the U.S. Hispanic market is very large, with over 50 million Hispanics and growing every day. However, the growth of the internal population is higher than the one from new immigration. The result is more bilingual people who continue to consume television in Spanish. I sincerely believe Telemundo has adapted much better to that market, offering products like the super series El Chema, The Lord of the Skies and Woman of Steel, which speak very well to millennials. Among that audience, 18 to 34s, we’re the number one channel in prime time, regardless of language, in the U.S. This is a process that Telemundo has focused on during the last three years, trying to innovate and connect with the public in the U.S. For example, the series Celia was an innovative product that drew audiences we call ambi-cultural or that are living in two worlds (Hispanic and Anglo). Telemundo as a company and network is well positioned to better assist this new market, always focusing on Spanish.

TV LATINA: What are the synergies that Telemundo Studios develops with external producers for creating stories?
SILBERWASSER: The majority of the stories at Telemundo are created by our development team at Telemundo Studios since we are creating products for our audience in the U.S. We later analyze where it’s best to produce. If it’s a story with Mexican elements, we’ll produce in Mexico; if it has Colombian ingredients, we’ll develop in Colombia; and if it’s based on Hispanic characters, we’ll produce in Miami. Outside of the U.S., we have important partnerships with great producers like Argos Comunicación, Fox Telecolombia/Estudios TeleMéxico, Sony Pictures Television and Disney Media Distribution that are producing the highest quality content for Telemundo. This strategy gives us diversity, which keeps our grid fresh and generates surprises in the different time slots.

TV LATINA: Telemundo started the super-series genre, and other companies have followed suit.
SILBERWASSER: Super series have been one of Telemundo’s flagship genres. We were the first to fully embark in this genre of series that are more innovative, fast paced and include more action. They’re filmed in different locales and present topics that are more true to life, that people can relate to. With our new series and super series, we’re looking to give audiences a real option between what Telemundo offers and what the competition offers, particularly for prime time. Super series, without a doubt, are at the forefront of Hispanic television.