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Vme's New Investors Focus on Underwriting

NEW YORK — Vme, the struggling Spanish-language TV network that last month received a much-needed injection of cash, held an upfront presentation mid-May to showcase its fall programming.

More importantly, it did so under the leadership of new investors, a Florida-based group of Venezuelan businessmen, who acquired a controlling stake in Vme Media and traveled here for the May 5 event.

Hosted by actresses Patricia Velásquez and Liliana Moyano, Vme’s upfront featured some of the network’s new leadership, including the new head of revenue Noel Poler (pictured), who turned to humor when introducing himself: “I am the new head of revenue. Yes, a new one. I know you’ve heard this before. But you’ll see me again. I promise!”

Because it is distributed via multicast by public TV stations, Vme and Vme Kids are subject to the same commercial restrictions as public broadcasters. Vme touted its “unique status” as a public-TV network that does “good,” and invited advertisers to underwrite its programming.

"Think about it not as to what you have to sell, but about what you want to say," Poler said, adding that even with the limitations imposed on a public-private enterprise, opportunities abound for marketers with both Vme and Vme Kids.

The company is also stressing the importance of delivering marketing messages in an uncluttered environment,. Vme avails are limited to six minutes per hour, compared to 13 to 19 minutes on commercial networks.

In terms of programming, Vme announced two upcoming documentaries: Latino Americans a series on emerging U.S. Latino communities; and Los Graduados (The Graduates) a two-hour documentary about the successes and challenges Latino students face in U.S.

Vme also unveiled original production De Buena Fuente, hosted by journalist Marian de la Fuente and presenting interviews and panel discussions with politicians, activists, and journalists focused on Latino issues in the United States and in their native countries.