Hispanic TV Summit: Uva Touts NBCU's Scale and Relevance

NBCUniversal's Hispanic programming chief said he likes the size and relevance of NBCU product offerings to the growing and increasingly diverse U.S. Hispanic audience, both in Spanish and English.

"You all know that Hispanics are younger in age, larger in families, greater in population and they're climbing the socioeconomic ladder more rapidly than any other demographic in the country," Joe Uva, chairman of Hispanic enterprises and content at Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, declared at the outset of the Hispanic Television Summit Wednesday in New York City. "That translates into a unique opportunity."

He added: "We have one of the biggest, if not the biggest growth market right here in our own backyard, and that's the U.S. Hispanic community."

Uva, the former CEO of U.S. Spanish-language media leader Univision who joined NBCU in April, said "our perspective at NBCU is having a couple of Spanish-language networks is probably just the right amount for us. And having a lot of choice of relevant content that sits across the rest of that portfolio, to talk to the English-speaking population, that's really the magic sauce for us."

He said NBCU content across platforms, which include Spanish-speaking Telemundo and mun2 but also NBC and the NBCU English-language cable networks, typically reaches some 90% of U.S. Hispanics ages 18 and older, more than any other TV group.

Reaching English-speaking Hispanics, he said, "is about great storytelling, it's about content and ideas that translate, it's not about language."

He touted crossover hits including USA Network's Modern Family, and NBC The Voice, a competition series that has a Spanish-speaking counterpart on Telemundo, La Voz Kids. The two shows reach a combined average Hispanic audience of more than 3 million viewers, and only 10% of that audience is duplicated, Uva said.

NBC also goes after Hispanics via the National Football League - the 12-year-old winner of the La Voz Kids competition sang the national anthem during a recent Sunday Night Football telecast, Uva said.

Telemundo is developing a celebrity-focused, Spanish-language spinoff of Bravo’s Top Chef, he added.

NBCU exploits other sports franchises, including Barclays (English) Premier League soccer contests and Olympics telecasts, across TV and mobile platforms to reach Hispanics.

Leading off the daylong conference, Uva, whose background also includes 17 years at Turner Broadcasting, told interviewer Mark Robichaux, Multichannel News editor in chief, that telenovelas were still working as a successful category, particularly with an older Spanish-speaking audience.

"What's really been working, though, is the more action, adventure, edgier content in dramatic series that we have now [has] been running as shorter novelas on Telemundo that are a little bit faster paced than a traditional novela," he added.

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.