NBCU Gets Adventurous With ‘TeleXitos’ Launch

Crockett and Tubbs are back in action. So are B.A. Baracus, Hannibal and Murdock, as well as warrior princess named Xena.

This time, however, they’re speaking Spanish.

Telemundo Station Group on Dec. 1 unveiled the latest broadcast network to serve Hispanics who prefer their content in Spanish: TeleXitos.

The new multicast network will focus its programming on classic action-and-adventure television series and a variety of English-language feature films from the 1970s through the 2000s, dubbed into Spanish. Programming includes such classic 1980s fare as The A-Team, T.J. Hooker and Miami Vice. In primetime -- curiously, 8-10 p.m. PT (11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET) -- TeleXitos will air its Hollywood action flicks. On Dec. 14, the film of choice was the 1997 Kevin Sorbo-helmed Kull the Conqueror.

Initially, TeleXitos will be available via digital multicast on Telemundo owned-and-operated stations: KVEA, Los Angeles; WNJU, New York; WSCV, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; KTMD, Houston; KXTX, Dallas-Fort Worth; WSNS, Chicago; KSTS, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose; KVDA, San Antonio, Texas; KHRR, Tucson, Ariz.; KTAZ, Phoenix; KTLM, McAllen-Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas; KNSO, Fresno, Calif.; KDEN, Denver; WWSI, Philadelphia; WNEU, Boston; and KBLR, Las Vegas.

Comcast subscribers in the Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla., markets already receive TeleXitos as a basic- cable offering on Channel 229, in a tier where other local digital multicast channels can be found.

TeleXitos will “later be available to local stations across the country,” the network said. It is presumed that non-Telemundo O&Os affiliated with the network, such as ZGS Communications’ eight Telemundo affiliates, will add TeleXitos. Non-Telemundo stations will also have the option to add the service.

Barbara Alfonso, formerly the manager for programming and community marketing for NBC-owned station WTVJ in Miami, has taken the new role of director for TeleXitos, overseeing programming, sales and digital operations. She began her career at WTVJ in 1988 and from 2003-2009 served as the station’s programming manager.

“We are excited to unveil TeleXitos to Spanish-language viewers all across the country,” Telemundo Station Group president Manuel Martinez said in a statement. “This expansion allows us to once again better serve our local communities with more programming that is relevant, exciting and of interest to them.”

Alfonso’s “extensive expertise in television and broadcasting will help TeleXitos become a must-watch network for viewers,” Martinez added.

TeleXitos effectively gives Telemundo a second broadcast network -- and a competitor in many ways to archrival Univision’s UniMás. While not entirely similar (UniMás airs on full UHF stations and is more varied in its programming mix), TeleXitos’s second-run fare borrows a formula employed by UniMás predecessor network, TeleFutura. Both UniMás and TeleXitos are also similar in their apparent interest in luring Hispanic men. 

The debut of TeleXitos comes as NBCUniversal prepares to bid farewell to cable offering mun2, which is transitioning to NBC Universo, a sports-heavy general-interest Spanish-language network. NBCUniverso is designed to be a direct competitor to the No. 1 Spanish-language cable channel by audience and revenue, Univision’s Galavisión.

Are Hispanics who watch Spanish-language TV going to gravitate to a channel that aired all four Tremors films between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 15?

“We have designed TeleXitos with our viewers’ interests at the center,” Alfonso said. “Our network’s programming ensures that our viewers not only have access to a mix of the greatest action television series and features films, but that they have access to them in Spanish.”

Miami-based media adviser Julio Rumbaut said he believes NBCU is simply leveraging its existing content and content rights. “NBCUniversal’s Hispanic Enterprises and Content is building multiplatform distribution,” he said. “TeleXitos, in a similar manner to the NBCUniverso rebrand, fulfills that strategy -- in this case with proven, classic content, dubbed into Spanish.”

Asked why a focus was placed on action/adventure programming, a Telemundo representative said: “We created the network with our viewers’ interests in mind, and our programming reflects this. According to our research, Hispanic viewers like to consume and watch action/adventure series and movies. TeleXitos fills this demand by providing viewers with this type of entertainment and programming in Spanish, without subtitles and around-the-clock.”

When one thinks like a sales executive and not like a programmer, it’s also clear that TeleXitos seeks to steal Hispanic-appealing El Rey Network’s thunder by providing similarly themed programming -- but in Spanish, not in English, thus making it easier to secure Hispanic buys.

“This network is the first of its kind and serves as another opportunity for advertisers and brands to reach Hispanics,” a Telemundo executive said. “TeleXitos serves as a conduit for brands that want to engage with a community that is the youngest and fastest-growing -- one that really embraces the wallet power they possess and wants to make a mark in our domestic and global economies.”

TeleXitos replaces digital multicast network Exitos, which aired telenovelas that previously aired on Telemundo.

In other company news, NBCUniversal’s Hispanic Enterprises and Content division has hired Miami-based full service advertising and communications firm República for its consumer-focused marketing efforts. República will provide services including advertising creative, brand strategy, promotions and consumer engagement.