|AOL executive Peter Blacker is heading to Telemundo to take over digital operations.
The NBC Universal-owned Spanish-language TV network has lagged far behind rival Univision Communications’ 4-year-old Univision Online division, which is believed to capture at least half of the estimated $60 million to $100 million a year spent on Hispanic online advertising. Most of the rest is divided among AOL Latino, Terra Networks, Yahoo en Espanol and a few other Spanish-language portals.
Univision's aggressive online efforts
Mr. Blacker, 34, will be in charge of developing Telemundo’s digital assets when he starts in July. Rival Univision, for instance, besides aggressively cross-selling TV and online advertising, has already gotten involved in wireless and ringtones. And Univision is about to partner with Google to do page searches in Spanish, an executive familiar with the deal said. Expected to start in the next month, the partnership has the potential to develop Spanish-language listings and key words, and could encourage more advertisers to translate their Web sites into Spanish.
As Hispanics go online faster than the more mature general market, a growing number of advertisers are following them. According to ComScore Media Metrix, there were 13.8 million active U.S. Hispanics online in January 2005. The group is younger, views more pages and spends more time online than the general population, according to ComScore. The research company found that 49% of the online Hispanic audience is under 24, compared to 30% of the total online population.
At an Advertising Age round table about the TV upfront in May, Tom McGarrity, president of Univision Networks sales, said 80% of Univision’s TV advertisers want to do integrated deals that include an online component.
'360-degree marketing platforms'
Telemundo has hinted recently at plans to develop its own Internet strategy. At the TV upfront presentations in May, a Telemundo executive said the company is planning four “360-degree marketing platforms” covering financial planning, childcare, education and a tribute to Hispanic mothers.
Telemundo, the No. 2 Spanish-language TV network, has been going through major changes. Don Browne, a longtime NBC executive who was Telemundo’s chief operating officer for 18 months, replaced president-CEO Jim McNamara just before the TV upfront market started. Last September, Telemundo hired Antoinette Zel, who built MTV’s successful South American cable operation as president of MTV Networks Latin America, as executive vice president for strategic planning and cable network operations. Ms. Zel is expected to have a key role in re-shaping the whole Telemundo TV network, not just its cable channel Mun2.
Mr. Blacker joined Time Warner's AOL four years ago to head interactive marketing at AOL Latin America, and was promoted to vice president of international for AOL International. He worked on the business plan for AOL Latino, launched in October 2002. He later became vice president of multicultural and international at AOL Media Networks as new areas such as African-American site Black Voices were added. Mr. Blacker is also a leader of the Hispanic online community, serving as chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Hispanic committee. That group, including AOL Latino, Univision, Yahoo en Espanol, and Terra -- but not Telemundo -- announced in March a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the importance of Internet media.
At AOL, Mr. Blacker is known for developing important relationships and innovative programs with major marketers. Ford Motor Co., for instance, sponsors a Spanish-language site for entrepreneurs and small-business executives on AOL Latino called “Mi Negocio” (My Business).
Two directors at AOL Media Networks will be promoted to take over from Mr. Blacker. Mark Lopez will take a leadership role with Hispanic and Bretland Moore with the African American-targeted Black Voices.