Upfronts 2012: Telemundo Doubles Down on Original Programming

Kate del Castillo -P 2012
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Kate del Castillo -P 2012

"Brave New Telemundo" brand statement captures the duality of U.S. Hispanics, says COO Jacqueline Hernandez.

NEW YORK -- Telemundo is doubling down on original content and launching a top-to-bottom rebrand with new logo and tagline, the network said Monday during its upfront breakfast at MoMA's The Modern.

The network is keeping the tagline under wraps until the fall, though it unveiled its brand statement Monday: "Brave New Telemundo."
Telemundo Media COO Jacqueline Hernandez noted that the new tagline will capture the "duality" of Hispanics who remain connected to their heritage while embracing America.

Telemundo, which executives point out is the world's largest producer of original Spanish-language content, will up its original programming slate by 40 percent in the 2012-13 season. The network announced six new primetime telenovelas, two daytime programs and a reality competition series Yo Me Llamo (My Name Is), an adaptation of a Colombian reality series that has contestants competing to imitate their favorite pop star.

New original telenovelas include El Rostro de la Venganza (The Face of Revenge), El Señor de los Cielos (The Lord of the Heavens), La Patrona (The Patron), Pasión Prohibida (Forbidden Passion), Nace un Idolo (An Idol Is Born) and Fina Estampa (Fine Pedigree).

Telemundo also is in the early stages of development on a sequel to La Reina del Sur, said Joshua Mintz, executive vp scripted programming and GM of Telemundo Studios. Kate del Castillo, who has signed on to a deal to star in and direct multiple web novelas for competitor Univision, is in negotiations to reprise her lead role in La Reina, said Mintz.

La Reina, which was produced by Telemundo Studios, is the network's highest-rated telenovela ever.

Daytime programs are Cuauhtemoc, which will have motivational speaker and author Carlos Cuauhtemoc Sanchez counseling families and couples, and daytime novella Virgen Morena (The Virgin of Guadalupe).

Last year, Telemundo and sister network mun2 recorded their best upfront season ever, adding more than 50 new advertisers for 20 percent growth in national ad revenue, according to the network. And the recently concluded first quarter was Telemundo's highest-rated ever.

"Our content is the key to our future," Telemundo Media president Emilio Romano said.

And executives are banking that the commitment to original programming will help the network, which lags behind top-rated Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, continue to make inroads with marketers -- noting the U.S. Hispanic population is sitting on $1 trillion in purchasing power with a spry median age of 27.

"We have the mission of becoming the No. 1 Spanish-speaking [media company] in the world," Romano said.

Indeed, the first deal of the 2012 upfront broke last week when Univision announced a wide-ranging deal with StarcomUSA.

Dan Lovinger, Telemundo's executive vp sales and integrated marketing, said the market for Spanish-language media is "very positive."

"I think the [Univision-Starcom] announcement was terrific," he said. "It's really an endorsement of the Hispanic marketplace. Period. End of story."