Univision is set to increase its efforts to quench the insatiable thirst for entertainment news and features among the nation’s Hispanics.
On Feb. 27, the media company will flip the switch on Variety Latino — Powered by Univision, the result of an expanded alliance between Univision Communications and Variety Media LLC, owner of venerable Hollywood trade publication Variety. The multiplatform entertainment news brand is designed to offer Spanish speakers “unparalleled coverage of all aspects of the global entertainment industry.”
In a Feb. 3 announcement, Univision said the partnership would leverage Variety’s access to entertainment news and content and Univision’s “unique understanding of the Hispanic consumer.” VarietyLatino stories and features will be distributed via a new website — VarietyLatino.com — as well as across Univision’s three television networks, affiliate stations and digital platforms.
Univision and Variety Media already collaborate on a multiplatform entertainment segment for the Univision television network’s newsmagazine Primer Impacto, launched in June 2013 under the Variety en Primer Impacto banner. The segments are produced by in Los Angeles, with Variety parent Penske Media’s Pilar Campos and Michael Davis VI serving as executive producers.
Primer Impacto regularly ranks as one of the Univision network’s most-watched programs, according to Nielsen. The hourlong news magazine, which combines investigative reports and in-depth news stories with entertainment coverage and sports features, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Feb. 14.
“I am proud that Variety, an iconic brand in entertainment, is partnering with the most powerful voice for Hispanic content in America to deliver in-depth coverage and access to the biggest stories in the world of entertainment, all day on every device,” Variety publisher Michelle Sobrino, the first Hispanic to hold that role at the 109-year-old publication, said.
Isaac Lee, president of news for Univision Communications and CEO of English-language Latino-targeted news and entertainment network Fusion, added, “No one knows show business better than Variety, and we couldn’t be more excited about the new ‘Variety Latino — Powered by Univision’ brand, which will bring millions of Spanish speakers the most comprehensive entertainment content available anywhere.”
Univision’s new in-house digital content production arm, La Fabrica UCI, will manage VarietyLatino.com’s dedicated team of producers, directors and contributors. The portal is expected to be fully operational in time for the Academy Awards on March 2. A Feb. 27 event in Los Angeles will herald the venture’s official debut.
The launch of Variety Latino is noteworthy not only for Univision’s commitment to providing entertainment news to Hispanics, but for its additive value with respect to the overwhelming demand for entertainment-focused content targeting Latinos.
Rival Telemundo enjoys alliances with the movie-focused Fandango brand and is the home of Premios Billboard, the annual awards show tied around music industry trade publication Billboard. Meanwhile, People en Español has become the undisputed leader by estimated annual advertising revenue among all Spanish-language magazines.
According to Media Economics Group’s HispanicMagazineMonitor for 2012, People en Español was the lone Spanish-language glossy to top more than 1,000 total ad pages, resulting in revenue of $83.4 million. By comparison, the No. 2 publication — women’s health and information-focused Latina — had roughly 670 ad pages with revenue of $23 million.
In an interview for Hispanic Market Overview 2013, an annual special report distributed by HispanicAd.com, People en Español publisher Monique Manso noted that her brand represented more than a magazine, having extended itself to Twitter. A two-day Hispanic entertainment festival in San Antonio, sponsored by Target, has further accelerated People en Español’s quest to be more than a print vehicle.
Perhaps most noteworthy for Univision executives is People en Español’s continuing buildout of its online video content and Manso’s willingness to forge branded entertainment opportunities with Hispanic television partners.
The additive ad dollars for entertainment news platforms, given their attractiveness to Latinas, could be in the millions. HispanicMagazineMonitor data shows Procter & Gamble spent some $48.2 million with all of the Spanish-language magazines measured by Media Economics Group in 2012. Cosmetics companies L’Oreal USA and Estee Lauder Cos. spent a combined $27.5 million in ad dollars with Hispanic magazines.
Meanwhile, notable total-market entertainment news sources have yet to launch full-scale Hispanic initiatives in the U.S. In December 2012, E! launched a Spanish-language App for smartphones — E!Latino — that combines news, videos and photos with clips from English-language shows airing on E! Entertainment Television. However, the network’s Spanish-language portal is targeted exclusively to online consumers in Puerto Rico and Latin America. Fast-growing celebrity gossip brand TMZ has a Spanish-language website — TMZ en Español — with limited coverage of entertainers and celebrities of relevance to Hispanic audiences.
Univision hopes the partnership with Variety is the first of many to involve La Fabrica UCI, which is lead by vice president and general manager Boris Gartner. Gartner joined Univision in May 2011 as director of strategy and operations for the company’s news department; he will continue to work closely with Lee.
La Fabrica UCI’s operations are divided between New York and Miami, and most of the content it hopes to create will focus on such Univision platforms as UVideos, the first bilingual digital video network serving U.S. Hispanics.
La Fabrica UCI’s first original digital series, Medicina Desconocida, is now available exclusively on UVideos.com. The 12-episode series features Univision chief medical correspondent Dr. Juan Rivera in an adventure-filled global search for odd cures and exotic medicines.