mun2 Rebrands as NBC Universo on Super Bowl Sunday

Cable Net to Spotlight Sports, Edgier Entertainment Fare
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While the transformation won’t officially occur until Super Bowl Sunday, NBCUniversal’s Hispanic cable network mun2 today said it is rebranding to NBC Universo.

The 40-million subscriber network, which will present the exclusive Spanish-language telecast of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015, has unveiled its new name and logo, tying into NBC’s iconic peacock symbol and brand. The rebranding was first mentioned during the Telemundo/mun2 upfront presentation to advertisers in New York last May. 

As a general-entertainment service, NBC Universo will present top sports from around the globe, and feature high-quality entertainment, music, series and storytelling aimed at making emotional connections with U.S. Hispanics.

Rubén Mendiola, president of mun2, said the name change not only underlines the network's affiliation with NBC, but is in step with the Hispanic evolution in the U.S.

“The name mun2 is of two worlds: The part of the Latino community rooted in its heritage, as well as those assimilated to English and American culture. NBC Universo is more reflective of the wider world today and the choices it offers to Latinos. It’s much broader, a universe,” he said.

Joe Uva, chairman, Hispanic enterprises and content at NBCUniversal, said the transformation of mun2, which recently became available in the high-definition format, is one of the company’s top priorities. NBC Universo will have “greater appeal to viewers, advertisers and MPVDs. Distributors will value the network more as it offers high-profile programming and sporting events."

Mendiola said research revealed that current moniker didn’t evoke connections in the minds of viewers to NBC Universal and its iconic, cable brands like USA, E!, Bravo and NBCSN. “We want to be part of that group,” he said.

Noting that the switch is the result of extensive research among focus groups, online panels and other methodologies, Uva said there “isn’t any brand equivalent of a USA Network for Hispanics.” He said the research indicates Latinos will be drawn to culturally relevant general-entertainment programming.

Both executives talked up the network’s tentpole sports – a five-game NFL package, capped by the championship contest; 550 hours of FIFA fare it will share next summer with broadcast brethren Telemundo; a major jump in ratings for Barclays Premier League soccer; the bow of a full season of NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series in 2015; wrestling action via WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown, and the 2016 Summer Olympics from Rio de Janiero.

Mendiola said the network’s sports coverage is being informed by one of NBC's hallmarks: storytelling. "We want to take that aspect and make it culturally relevant to Latinos.”

He lauded the job NBC does with letting people get to know the athletes that compete in the quadrennials.  “Our goal is to do what NBC has done with the Olympics and move that to other sports," he said, noting that process is already underway with its BPL coverage and that the game plan calls for similar tactics during the upcoming FIFA run as players progress from the U17 and  U20 squads to ultimately attaining senior national team stature.

On the entertainment side, NBC Universo will continue to present music videos and build on A Toda Gloria, which provides with an all-access look into the life of international Latin music icon Gloria Trevi, both on- and off-stage.

Neither executive, though, would provide detailed programming specifics, which may be conveyed during the TCA winter press tour. There were hints, however.

Uva said that he hopes the rebranded service will continue to appeal to its bilingual, millennial base via sports fare and action programming, while broadening its audience overall with a more diversified programming lineup.

Mendiola said NBC Universo's target will be 18 to 34, with the audience pushing toward the 18-to-49 set. He said the programming will be "edgier than what you see on broadcast" and those sensibilities will be built into the series and movies that the network acquires and has in development.

While sports will air in Spanish – that’s where the network holds the rights – entertainment and other programming will be conveyed in the appropriate language, depending on genre and daypart. “ We want it to be organic,” Uva said.

Mendiola said much work lies ahead over the next 90 days or so before the rebrand on Super Bowl Sunday, but he's confident viewers will like what they see as NBC Universo moves to super-serve Hispanics.

“We’re very serious about the positioning, the new look and logo,” he said. “It’s going to be something that Latinos have not had before.”

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