Q&A: Telemudo’s Peter Blacker

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Peter Blacker, Telemundo executive VP of digital media and emerging business, is the primary architect behind the company’s overall digital strategy. The former AOL executive is also behind Telemundo’s new partnership with MSN, announced this week and aimed at creating a revamped, bilingual destination at www.telemundo.com. The new site, which will go live Jan. 1, 2009, effectively puts an end to Telemundo’s three-year partnership with Yahoo. Hispanic TV Update spoke to Blacker about the upcoming launch, the end of the Yahoo partnership and how the new site will work more in tandem with the broadcast network and other NBC properties. An edited transcript follows:

Q: How did the
MSN
partnership come about?

A: The first thing we realized we needed to do was to have our own identity, one outside of Yahoo. We needed to have our own home. That came as a result of two major forces: one, internally, from the TV producers who wanted to get our audience more involved with the TV content, and the other from our advertisers who were demanding a similar feel online as what they were buying on TV. They felt the Yahoo!Telemundo design was too cold for them, and the navigation made it difficult to find certain content.

Q: What does
MSN
bring to the table?

A: When we went out looking for a partnership, we made sure we wanted to have someone with the latest video streaming technology available; and what MSN brings to the table is that video technology we need.

We learned through the Olympics, and by working with MSN and with MSNBC, what we were capable of doing. In addition to their technology, MSN will distribute Telemundo content through MSN Latino and other International MSN portals.

Q: Did you model the new site after an existing one?

A: We are actually going to model Telemundo.com after a couple of sites we’ve seen and we like a lot. One of them is the new NBC.com site, but we also saw some great stuff in Spain, and we’re adopting a feature known as mosaico [mosaic] where you can have a series of thumbnail-size videos on one screen and by going over them with your mouse get to see what you want.

Q: How many video streams do you see now at YahooTelemundo?

A: We are one of the leading players in Web video consumption with over 10 million videos streamed each month.

Q: Is the new site going to be bilingual? If so, will you include content from mun2?

A: It’s funny because one of the reasons why we are doing this is because we are focusing on the bilingual element [of our content]. The site will be bilingual but not in the sense of offering a direct translation. We are going to be creating different areas within the site where you will be able to navigate in both languages. One area is going to be a sort of mun2 “embassy” within the site but mun2 will keep its own site [holamun2.com]. What’s going to be different is that we’ll be able to heavy promote mun2 content and vice versa.

Q: Who is in charge of the new design?

A: The new design is in the hands of Media Works, a company owned by NBC, which has been working for several months with our team. What is great about [the new site] is that it really feels like an entertainment magazine rather than a portal. Also, and based on a new format tested at our Pulse Research Center, the site will consist of bigger images and will have a more user-friendly layout.

Q: What about Telemundo’s local stations? Will they continue to have their own separate Web site?

A: We are going to proudly promote our local stations, and actually for the first time we’ll be able to give them extra content, something we couldn’t do before [with the Yahoo partnership.]

Q: Telemundo said in a press release that clients will be able to “own” certain areas of the site. What does that mean?

A: We have found that in today’s world of challenged budgets, clients want to make their money go further. So we will be offering areas that a client can not only exclusively own but help us develop. For example, we want to create a countdown clock in anticipation of the 2009 digital switch, but we will build it with a partner who wants to have their brand associated with the actual experience.

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