Upfronts 2015: NBC Deportes Ramps Up

Upfront announcements by NBCUniversal Hispanic Group at a Lincoln Center gathering include a new sports unit, NBC Deportes, that will ramp up production ahead of the arrival of FIFA World Cup Spanish-language coverage on Telemundo and sister network NBC Universo.

Ad-sales executives, including executive vice president Mike Rosen, pitched buyers and other attendees on the networks' reach to Hispanic Americans, under the theme  of "All Together. Latino." Rosen said NBCU will target Hispanic viewers across Spanish- and English-language networks, using an approach called CultureFirst that incorporates cultural traits (Latino "human truths") other than language that influence buying decisions.

Telemundo touted ratings gains, such as a 20% increase in weekday primetime viewing among 18- to 49-year-olds, aided by shorter, action-oriented drama "super series" including the hit El Señor de Los Cielos (The Lord of the Skies), starring Rafael Amaya as a Mexican drug lord. (It is returning for a fourth season in a format designed for multiple seasons). The broadcast network also is introducing Gran Hermano, a new U.S. Spanish-language version of the reality show Big Brother, and loading up on musical specials with the Latin American Music Awards, which is a new show modeled on the AMAs, and The 2015 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, a spinoff of the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Earlier, Telemundo said it would launch a new Saturday-night variety show, La Sorpresa de Tu Vida (The Surprise of Your Life), hosted by Angelica Vale and Raul Gonzalez, who on stage use the term "gigante" to describe the plans for the new show. Last month, U.S. Hispanic-content leader Univision said its Saturday-night variety show, Sábado Gigante, would end its 53-year run in September upon host Don Francisco's retirement. 

Sports formed much of the news, though, including the new NBC Deportes unit announced by Joe Uva, the chairman of Hispanic Enterprises and Content at NBCU, and NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus. It will gear up to provide 1,000 hours of sports content across network and digital platforms for such properties as soccer's FIFA World Cup (NBCU has Spanish-language rights to the next three Cup rounds), the Olympics and the National Football League. NBC Universo (the former mun2) is adding a new highlights show, Escena Deportiva, and obtaining home games on Saturday nights for Leon and Pachuca in the Mexican LIGA MX. 

On the digital front, attendees at Rose Hall in Jazz at Lincoln Center enjoyed seeing a demo of a new second-screen app, Double Acción, that streams content that complements what's being shown on TV during scripted series, even down to having one of the characters in the show call the person on the mobile phone that's running the app. The singer Daddy Yankee, a judge on Telemundo's La Voz Kids, performed at the end. 

Pictured, left to right: Rafael Amaya (El Señor de Los Cielos), Maria Celeste Arraras (Al Rojo Vivo) and Mike Rosen, EVP, Advertising Sales, News and Hispanic Groups, NBCUniversal.

Update: This story was corrected on May 18 to state that La Voz Kids is on Telemundo, not NBC Universo.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.