Taking the Upfront to Texas

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Hispanic TV broadcasters and cable network executives are heading this week to San Antonio, where they will showcase their programming lineup at the first annual Texas Hispanic Upfront on June 5. The one-day event is organized by SAVisión, the Hispanic marketing arm of San Antonio’s American Marketing Association. The goal, say organizers, is to give the local advertising community a taste of what the networks presented during upfront week in New York City. Hispanic TV Update contributor Laura Martínez spoke to Scott Keeler, Upfront Chair and regional sales manager for ABC Radio Networks en Español, about details of the upcoming event and why it was important for Texas to hold its own upfront. An edited transcript follows:

Q: Why did you decide to hold a Hispanic TV upfront in Texas?

A: A lot of the local advertising and marketing agencies couldn’t travel to New York to see what the upcoming programming is and yet it affects them every bit as much as national advertisers. This event grew up from the foundation in 2006 of SAVisión, which is a sub-section of the American Marketing Association. Our original goal was to educate advertisers about the growing importance of the Hispanic market. But in the spring of 2007 we held a luncheon with speakers who talked about the New York upfronts. The attendance to that event went beyond our expectations, so we thought it would be a great idea to launch our own upfront event.

Q: How many networks will be presenting?

A: Univision, Telemundo MTV3 and V-Me are presenting as over-the-air broadcasters. Azteca America — which was originally on the agenda — dropped out of the event. On the cable side, we’ll have ESPN Deportes, Fox Sports en Español and Caribevisión. Plus we’ll have some radio companies, Universal Radio and Univision Radio, which will have a presence.

Q: How much time would they have to present their programming?

A: Over-the-air broadcasters will have 15 minutes to present each, while cable networks will have 7 minutes each.

Q: How many people do you expect will attend?

A: We think there will be around 400-500 people.

Q: What do you think agencies and marketers will take out of this event?

A: Advertisers will be able to take advantage of the networks’ special upfront packages, which will put local agencies and advertisers on the same footing as the New York agencies, which have traditionally had access to such specials.

Q: Are you planning on holding this event next year?

A: We hope to grow the San Antonio event, but we are also working with other chapters [of the Association] so maybe next year we’ll do events in Houston, Dallas, or maybe we’ll have San Antonio be the host every year; we are still thinking about it.

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