Success Knows No Boundaries5 Feb, 2010 By: Nicole Urso Reed Response
A rising star turns heads in the U.S. Hispanic market, while Latin America continues to embrace American DRTV products.
Thousands of contestants lined up in Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles to audition for a new reality TV show set to air in October. There were singers and dancers and celebrity judges, but no Simon Cowell. These undiscovered stars and oddball variety acts were not auditioning for the next season of “America’s Got Talent,” the popular NBC program, which Cowell brought from the U.K. to the United States. This was a shot at winning $100,000 on an all-new American talent contest called “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento,” which means: “I’ve got talent, lots of talent.”
“Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento” was created and produced by an ambitious newcomer to U.S. Hispanic television, Estrella TV, which means “Star TV.”
The network was launched in September 2009 by Liberman Broadcasting Inc. (LBI) and produces all original content here in the U.S., specifically tailored to the U.S. Hispanic market. Building on a foundation of seven owned-and-operated TV stations, 22 radio stations and a network of affiliate broadcasters, LBI launched Estrella TV to compete with Hispanic powerhouse networks Univision and Telemundo.
“We have a market right now, depending on who you speak with, where there’s $2.5 or $2.75 billion of ad revenue shared basically between Univision and Telemundo. I can’t think of too many spaces where there’s only two competitors vying for that much money,” says Winter Horton, COO of Estrella TV. “We found a great niche in the programming that we produce.”
Univision’s programming consists primarily of telenovelas, or soap opera-style miniseries often produced in Mexico. Telenovelas are so popular among U.S. Hispanics that Google’s YouTube inked a partnership with Univision in November 2009 to host them on its video sharing site. Citing the importance of serving the U.S. Hispanic audience, YouTube’s head of content partnerships, Chris Maxcy, described the deal as, “a big win for us and marks one of the most comprehensive partnerships for full-length programming signed to date.”
Estrella TV does not program telenovelas. Instead, it produces celebrity-laden entertainment and reality TV for its largely acculturated Hispanic audience that fawns over Hollywood drama just as much as everybody else.
“If you think about the general market stations, CBS or NBC or Fox especially, they’re constantly changing,” says Horton. “So we’re coming to the marketplace and offering an alternative — and so far it’s working.”