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Discovery's Hispanic Content Chief Readies Her Pitch

As cable networks gear up for upfront season, marketing and programming executives at Discovery U.S. Hispanic Networks have kicked off a nationwide series of pre-upfront meetings, introducing its two flagship channels, Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia, to advertising agencies and media buyers. The meetings kicked off during mid-February in Miami and will continue through April 16-17, when they wrap up in Los Angeles. Taking a break from the multi-city tour, Eileen Piñeiro, content director for Discovery U.S. Hispanic, spoke to Hispanic Television Update about the networks’ record-setting performance and what advertisers can expect at Discovery en Español’s May 14 upfront presentation in New York. An edited excerpt follows.

MCN: Tell us the rationale behind these pre-upfront events. What are they and what are you trying to achieve?

Eileen Piñero: We are touring the country presenting our programming and research to the advertising community. The idea is to hold small, intimate events in cities like Miami, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. We want to demonstrate who the Discovery viewer is and what makes [him or her] different. The engagement [with Discovery programming] is totally different from the one they have with other [Hispanic] networks.

MCN: How so?

EP: Discovery is not the type of television experience that is in the background, while you’re cooking or going about your chores. We’re framing that when our viewers tune in they are really there to engage with the programming, whether it is a desire to learn more about the world or to tap into their general sense of adventure. It is television by choice, not by default.

MCN: How do you communicate this?

EP: We’ve picked a theme, “Feel,” for these presentations and also for the main event in May. We created an original song and ultimately a music video, which is a representation of the spirit of the Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia viewer. This is the result of many years of focus group and research into our audience. We offer viewers TV programs that challenge them, content that actually teaches them something. It’s not just background noise. We want to communicate to the advertising community the relationship our viewers have with the Discovery content.

MCN: What can ad agencies expect from your May presentation in New York?

EP: We are going to be further expanding on our ‘Feel’ theme, but we are not going to be showing the same video. We’re hoping to surprise everybody with an interesting presentation. I cannot give you more because most of it will not be revealed until May 14.

MCN: Discovery has reported some ratings milestones over the years. Which programs are driving growth?

EP: It’s pretty varied. But for Discovery en Español we’ve been able to retain our leadership position on the weekends, particularly Sundays with our series Discovery Presenta. That is a series of documentaries covering all sorts of topics; that’s always a bright spot. We are also very strong in what we call late prime against all Hispanic pay TV. Here we program a mix, including series Crimenes millonarios, Fuga casi perfecta and A vista de pájaro. On a yearly basis, in 2012 Discovery en Español was the No. 1 Hispanic pay TV channel among persons 18-49 during late primetime (9 p.m.-midnight) and the second most watched Hispanic pay TV during 7 to 11 p.m. (after Galavisión).

MCN: Can you highlight one or some of the new shows you’ll be presenting in May?

EP: We’re still working on those announcements. But I can tell you we are already working on Season 2 of Acceso Exclusivo, a series that goes behind the scenes of popular sports teams. Season one was Acceso Exclusivo: Pumas, an original show that went behind the scenes of Mexico’s popular soccer team Pumas. The series integrated advertising from Coors Light. All I can say now is that we are in pre-production of season two. We’re not ready to announce the team yet, but we’re also integrating advertisers, as we did with season one.

MCN: What about Discovery Familia?

EP: Discovery Familia is actually a very interesting story. We have seen triple-digit growth against women, and we are now the #1 network among pre-schoolers (children ages 2-5.) In addition, we’ve gained some impressive traction at night. It’s our newest network, but one that is emerging.