For Multicultural Viewers, It’s a Multiplatform ‘Mundo’

Statistics are pretty clear that if you want to reach a multicultural audience, you’d better be utilizing something beyond the one big screen in the den. More than any segment of the population, multiethnic viewers have embraced cross-platform options.

According to Nielsen, multicultural consumers have led the growth in smartphone penetration, becoming adaptors at a higher rate than the U.S. average, which grew to 68% in January. That charge is led by Asian-Americans, as 78%—or nearly four out of five—use a smartphone. Hispanics are also ahead of the curve in adopting digital devices, with 77% saying they own a smartphone; African-Americans rate at 73%.

And given the increases in multiplatform content over the past few years, especially coming from networks attempting to reach a wider swath of viewers, there are more content options than ever.

Producing for the Second Screen

Earlier this month, top Spanish-language broadcaster Univision launched its first fully over-the-top network, Flama. The network targets 15-to-30-yearolds, and was first announced at last year’s NewFronts.

Flama premiered with five shows, ranging from docu-series Drop the Mike With Becky G, about a 17-year-old hip-hop artist, and The Johnny Sanchez Show, with the comedian running through a list of online clips, Tosh.0-style. The OTT network also features original and curated video from around the Web and touts itself as sort of an online marketplace for all segments within the U.S. Hispanic community.

“While other companies have set out to attract young Latinos and treat them like a homogenous group, from Flama’s inception, the network has been staffed by Latinos of all backgrounds who are making quality content for what is actually a diverse group,” said Daily Show and About a Boy regular Al Madrigal. The comedian is an advisor for the OTT shop.

Flama is only Univision’s latest attempt to cater to a multiplatform audience, having in the past year launched its TV Everywhere offering UVideos and music service Uforia. Univision also set up an in-house digital content production arm, La Frabica UCI, in February.

Meanwhile, Telemundo is gearing up to premiere the first entry from its own multiplatform production studio, Fluency, which launched last year.

In June, the Spanish-language broadcaster will premiere ISA, an 80-minute “made-for-multiformat” scifi movie, making it available across mobile and digital platforms, along with television and video-on-demand.

“U.S. Hispanics are more digitally savvy than any other group, are passionate about films and want fresh, original stories that reflect the world of today and tomorrow, both multiplatform and multicultural,” said Peter Blacker, executive VP, digital media & emerging businesses, Telemundo Media.

Fluency aims to create content for multicultural audiences— it programs in both English and Spanish— and Telemundo has been looking for talent from both social media and traditional channels.

The multiplatform nature also allows for advertisers to be a part of the show. Samsung signed on as an exclusive sponsor, providing smartphones and tablets that will be integrated into scenes throughout the movie.

ISA was first announced at B&C’s Next TV Summit last month. “We’ve been listening to the audience for about eight years now, and getting a sense of what they want to see [and] how they want to see it,” said José Néstor Márquez, VP of digital video production & development for Telemundo.

Getting a Kick-Start

Those same cross-platform rules apply to the World Cup. ESPN airs the World Cup later this summer, with plans for extensive viewing options.

ESPN will make all 64 World Cup games available on its WatchESPN platform (ABC games will be available on Watch ABC), and will also air them on its multiscreen network ESPN3 in multiple languages. In addition, the network’s soccer vertical, ESPNFC, is almost entirely on the second-screen. And ESPN Deportes will no doubt cover the action on its daily series #Redes, a live show continuing the daily socialmedia conversation in sports, pop culture and news.

World Cup coverage could help continue a U.S. cultural blending that has found increasing examples of diversity among mainstream viewing options.

Coca-Cola pushed that envelope in February, creating a stir during the Super Bowl when it ran an ad featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in seven different languages.

While some viewers balked, the fact that Fox and Coke signed off on the ad, airing on TV’s mostwatched night of the year, sent a big multicultural message, regardless of how much it may have stirred up a segment of America’s melting pot.

During B&C’s Multicultural TV Summit in February, held a couple of days after the game, Esther Franklin, executive VP and head of SMG Americas Experience Strategy at Starcom MediaVest Group, argued that smart marketers will continue to try to more accurately portray the people they want to reach with their ads. “These consumers are extremely savvy and they know how to use their dollar, and their Nielsen black box, to say you are not connecting with me,” she said.

As millennials continue to grow into the advertiserpreferred demographic, networks aiming to grab multicultural viewers are, like mainstream stations, also doing their best to reach a younger audience as Univision hopes to through Flama.

And they’re not alone. SiTV, which owns Latinotargeted network NUVOtv, recently acquired Englishlanguage music channel Fuse; there’s also the launch of Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network, an Englishlanguage channel that features multicultural talent. And Telemundo partnered with NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution to launch a cobranded weekly segment called “Access Hollywood Al Rojo Vivo,” for its newsmagazine Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste.