Q&A: Mio.TV's Jenny Alonzo

Former Lifetime Networks marketing executive and past NAMIC president Jenny Alonzo recently talked to Multichannel News about her latest venture, Mio.TV. The executive vice president marketing/brand discusses the strategy behind the Hispanic-targeted, bilingual online TV network as well as her thoughts on the industry’s ongoing diversity efforts. An edited transcript follows:  

Q: Talk about Mio.TV and what the company hopes to accomplish in reaching out to Latino audiences.

A: Mio.TV is the premiere bilingual online TV network experience for Hispanics. It features a whole line of channels with Hispanic interest that are integrated with desktop applications, social networking user-generated content, voice over IP and much more.

We’re looking to create the ultimate Latino community in the digital space, a community that will share experiences, share entertainment, create their own stories and continue to drive trends and new technologies at record levels.

Q: Has cable done enough to reach out to the Latino community?

A: Cable has been a lot more receptive to Latino audiences than the traditional media. You have mun2, and MTVtres, Si TV and Spanish-language networks like Galavision and Televisa, but is that enough? Does that represent all of the business opportunities that this market and this specific demographic represents? Absolutely not. 

That’s why you see the digital space getting a lot more aggressive, because this group is really driving trends and technology.

Latinos outperform every other demographic when it comes to music downloads, video downloads, text messaging and other digital applications. This is an area where cable could be more aggressive in reaching out to the Latino community. If they want to reach young Latinos who are downloading music videos to their cell phones, they’re missing the boat right now.

Q: In general, looking at the industry now as compared to when you served as president of NAMIC in 2005, has the industry advanced in terms of its diversity efforts?

A: I think we have seen some progress, and I think there is an awareness of the value that having the right people at the table brings to your business. Could it be better? Of course. But I do see a lot more middle management executives that represent the various ethnic groups at the table. I think that’s a wonderful thing to see. But at the senior ranks, there’s still some inroads to be made.

Q: What does the industry need to do to make those inroads?

A: The industry in particular needs to take a look at why it’s having a hard time retaining people of color once they’ve come into the industry. The industry is finding and hiring people of color, but they are walking away after a few years; and as an industry, we have to figure out why because it’s losing an important opportunity lost retain quality people of color.  

Q: Beyond Mio.TV, are you involved in any other telecommunications projects?

A: I’ve been able to fully engage in marketing project working with a network also in this space, Si TV. It’s a brand that has so much potential but is not being maximized by the cable industry.

When you look at the Latino community and you look at a demographic that is more educated, assimilated and acculturated into the American culture, but who has been able to keep so much of their identity intact regarding their family ties and their habits is a major accomplishment.

It’s very rewarding to be involved in a marketing project that I feel very passionate about. Being involved in both Si TV and Mio.TV, I can immediately see the synergies and the opportunities that we will be able to maximize and leverage as a team. Maybe the traditional linear approach has not been as receptive as it should be for this content, so perhaps the digital world would be more embracing and bring this rich product to this community. So I feel kind of excited to find myself in the middle of these two emerging companies.