En Route to the Upfronts: ‘Conexiones’ and Confirmations

NEW YORK — The 2014 U.S. Hispanic television industry’s upfront schedule is nearly finalized, with most of the venues and times for the nation’s Spanish-language and Hispanic-themed English-language television networks locked down.

This year’s Hispanic upfronts, which officially stretch from the evening of May 12 through the evening of May 14, may not be as hectic as last year’s parade of presentations, when Editorial Televisa, the newly reborn NUVOtv and ESPN Deportes concurrently competed for the attention from media buyers and planners, and advertising and marketing executives.

That’s because Fox Hispanic Media has added a four-market road show to its 2014 advertiser-outreach efforts, starting during the first week of April in Miami. FHM, the advertising sales arm for MundoFox, Fox Deportes, Nat Geo Mundo and Fox Life, will then shift its in-market presentations to Chicago and Los Angeles. The four-market sales tour concludes in New York, with client-focused presentations set for the first week of May.

The road show comes in addition to its traditional lunchtime upfront presentation, set for May 14. FHM has not officially revealed the time and locale of its 2014 event. Last year’s lavish soirée was held at Alice Tully Hall.

FHM’s four-city road show coincides with the launch of Fox Hispanic Media Conexiones, described as “a unique ad sales unit placing the group at the intersection of content and consumer.”  Conexiones is result of an internal restructuring designed to offer clients more cross-platform opportunities, increased partnership opportunities and enhanced consumer insights and analytics.

“Our marketplace has reached a strategic inflection point in both the way our content is distributed and consumed, as well as how it’s utilized by marketers to communicate with their consumers,” Fox Hispanic Media executive vice president of ad sales Tom Maney said. “We are launching Conexiones as a commitment to provide our clients with a truly seamless approach across various FHM platforms, and offer them multi-tiered campaigns from one single sales force.”

NBCUniversal will showcase its entire portfolio of entertainment networks duriog a week-long series of upfronts that includes a May 13 evening presentation from Telemundo at Frederick P. Rose Hall in Time Warner Center. It’s a repeat venue for Telemundo, which staged its 2013 Upfront presentation at the Columbus Circle locale — closing the night with a special performance from salsa king Marc Anthony.

NBCU will bookend its slate of upfronts with a NBC Entertainment presentation at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 12, and a Cable Entertainment Group presentation at the facility on May 15. Until this year, each network held individual presentations to advertising partners between February and early May.

“Showcasing our entire portfolio to our advertising partners all at once is in response to marketplace demand and a natural next step in the evolution of the NBCUniversal portfolio coming together as one,” NBCU president of advertising sales Linda Yaccarino said. “In a world of fragmentation, aggregation and scale means everything for our clients.”

While May 12-14 will certainly be jam-packed with content pitches and cocktails, Hispanic television executives can scratch Viacom’s Tr3s from their Upfront schedule. Hispanic Television Update has confirmed that MTV’s U.S. Hispanic network will not be holding an Upfront presentation this year, amid a flurry of recent layoffs in its South Beach offices. Additionally, the network has signaled a move away from reality programming and back to blocks of music videos.

In a statement, the network said: “Tr3s is committed to U.S. Hispanic audiences with relevant, authentic content. We’re streamlining Tr3s’ priorities by focusing on its greatest strength — music programming — while exploring opportunities to grow the brand, including distribution. As we build our brand and content offering, we have decided to explore other options beyond the traditional upfront, and instead engage partner brands with a year-round communications strategy that drives more interaction and a deeper dialogue around new opportunities targeting the ever-evolving Hispanic audience.”

Tr3s’ 2013 Upfront event was a full-blown party at Webster Hall that took on a circus theme — a move driven by the network’s under-the-big-top reality show Familia de Circo. Its latest reality program, Divas de Azúcar, debuted March 11. The Miami-based show follows the drama associated with a Cuban mother and her two daughters at a local bakery. Both Divas and Familia were added to the Tr3s lineup via a partnership with High Noon Entertainment, which produces TLC’s Cake Boss.

Although the bulk of this year’s upfront presentations are set for the week of May 12, LATV Networks will hold its 2014 event on the evening of May 1. LATV vice president of advertising sales and marketing Andrés Rincón said the presentation will focus on the music and entertainment-oriented LATV television network and LATV’s American Latino Syndication, home of the English-language Latino-focused news magazines American Latino and LatiNation.

Here’s the latest Hispanic Television Update 2014 Upfront calendar, updated on March 18. All events in New York:

6 p.m.: LATV Networks, Penthouse 45, 432 West 45th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue)

MAY 12
(Evening): Azteca America, Guastavino’s Restaurant, 409 East 59th St.
TBA: NUVOtv — location and time to be announced
TBA: Estrella TV — location and time to be announced

MAY 13
11 a.m.:  Univision, Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 West 45th Street (SW corner of 8th Avenue)
2 p.m.: Discovery U.S. Hispanic, SIR Stage 37, 508 West 37th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenue)
5 p.m.: Telemundo, Time Warner Center-Frederick P. Rose Hall  (Columbus Circle)

MAY 14
9 a.m.: ESPN Deportes, Hearst Tower, 300 W. 57th St. (SW corner of 8th Avenue)
TBA (midday): Fox Hispanic Media – location to be announced