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Major Money in Niche Audiences #HispanicTV

Getting quality content in front of Hispanic consumers is a challenge on many fronts, agreed the panelists on the Distribution Roundtable at B&C and Multichannel News' Hispanic TV Summit Thursday. HD production lags in Latin America. The array of platforms is vast, many of them with as yet unwritten rules. And it’s tricky to make programming broad enough for a wide audience, while also localizing it in a meaningful way for the various Latin American nationalities. “There are other Hispanics than Mexicans,” reminded Marcos A. Jorge, executive VP of Grupo Super Canal.

Luis Torres Bohl, CEO of Mexicanal, cited Comcast’s VOD success, and sees an opportunity to provide nation-specific on demand programming — for a fee. “I think linear channels are not necessarily going to be operative forever,” he said.

With so much indecision surrounding distribution platforms, Ashley Jordan, CEO of Fashion One and Bigfoot Productions, said it was “really, really” important to own one’s content. “Then you can slice it and dice it whatever way you see fit,” she said.

Juanjo Durán, head of Hispanic content at YouTube, referred to Generation “C”, which creates and curates and consumes self-, and peer-, generated content. Adding subtitles and translation functions to the content gives it a wider audience. “We think Hispanic content can be valuable to all viewers,” he said.

Duran also mentioned selling inexpensive subscriptions for niche offerings, such as Cuban films, as another revenue stream for YouTube.

Barbara Bellafiore, president of Bell Communications, moderated.

While Hispanic households overindex in terms of HD sets, the panel spoke of the challenges around delivering copious HD channels. For starters, shows produced in Latin America are often standard def. “I think you’ll see a big land rush among operators to add HD,” said Tom Mohler, CEO of Olympusat Holdings. “It’s badly needed.”

Watching high quality television transcends language and culture. “Whether they’re Dominican or Chinese or American,” said Jorge, “everyone wants a nice picture and good quality.”