Telemundo’s Browne Delivers Opening Address

Don Browne, president of Telemundo Communication Group, delivered a keynote address at the opening day of the fifth annual Hispanic Television Summit on Oct. 3 in New York City. Speaking to an audience of more than 300 executives from television, advertising, marketing, research, programming, production and finance, Browne focused on the power of content, and spoke of the 40 years he spent in television, first as a reporter in Latin American and now as president of the NBC-owned Spanish-language network.

Hispanic television “is a good place to be in this day and age,” said Browne. “I still feel like a 24-year-old walking in for my first day [at work].” Browne was introduced to the audience by Larry Dunn, publisher of Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable, who joked about having too many things in common with the Telemundo executive: “We both have Cuban wives, and share the same nickname [Duck],” said Dunn.

During his address, before taking a flight to Spain, Browne took the opportunity to talk about the birth of Telemundo, and how the network has grown to control its own destiny with original content produced specifically for the U.S. Hispanic market. “We study the market, try to understand it and then go out to create content that is relevant to them,” he said. Telemundo now has its own studios in Colombia, Miami and Mexico.

Towards the end of his presentation, Browne touched on the upcoming switch to digital TV, calling it a “revolution,” but he did not elaborate on Telemundo’s plans ahead of the transition. In fact, asked by Multichannel News if Telemundo was planning an informational campaign to educate viewers about the digital switch -- something market leader Univision did this week -- Browne said it was part of a “bigger plan” involving parent company NBC. “Telemundo is part of a larger company called NBC, [which] will be making an announcement soon. I don’t want to steal Jeff Zucker’s thunder.”

As for multicast, the Telemundo executive said it is a “work in progress,” but mostly a great opportunity to break out content and target the younger demo, the bilingual, acculturated Hispanics who consume mostly English-language media. There are other areas of opportunities, he said, including news, weather, culture and lifestyle channels. “Once NBC Universal states their intention, we’ll know how much content we’ll have [to put on those extra channels.]”

Browne wrapped up by emphasizing Telemundo’s main strategy, which revolves around controlling its own destiny by controlling its content.