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Telemundo Teams With Yahoo to Create Hispanic Portal

Espanol.Yahoo.com and Telemundo.com Rolled Into New Site

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NEW YORK (Adage.com) -- NBC Universal will have a new product to sell this upfront. Telemundo, the company's Spanish-language TV network, is teaming with Internet giant Yahoo to shake up the Hispanic online market with a new co-branded Web site called Yahoo Telemundo (telemundo.yahoo.com). 
Yahoo and Telemundo are joining forces to create a Hispanic Web portal.
Yahoo and Telemundo are joining forces to create a Hispanic Web portal.

The site unveiled today is a joint-venture between the partners and replaces Telemundo.com and Yahoo en Espanol's espanol.yahoo.com. Users will be directed to the new site. No money is changing hands, but the two companies are pooling Telemundo's ability to create original content and Yahoo's knowledge of online technology and operations. They will merge Telemundo.com and Yahoo en Espanol staff and share ad revenue. 

$100 million market
Right now the estimated $100 million Spanish-language online advertising market -- forecast to grow by 32% in 2006 -- is dominated by the biggest Spanish-language network, Univision. Univision.com gets the lion's share of Spanish-language online ad dollars, and claims that half of its online advertisers run only on Univision.

"Hispanic online is very big business," said Don Browne, president of Telemundo. "What's happened is counter intuitive. Hispanics are adapting to technology much faster than the general population, and consuming content more aggressively than the general population." 

Telemundo, the second-largest Spanish-language network in the U.S, produces most of its own programming rather than importing it from Mexico as other Spanish-language networks do, making it easier for Telemundo to create relevant online content.  

"The biggest trend we're seeing online in the Hispanic market is the adoption of broadband and the thirst for video," said Peter Blacker, Telemundo's senior VP-digital. 

Focus is on three areas
The new site will focus on three areas: extending Telemundo's existing TV content online, made-for-broadband video and user-generated content. And Yahoo brings its search tools, messenger and mail services to the site. 

The extension of existing content has already begun, with a new online diary that accompanies Telemundo telenovela "Tierra de Pasiones" ("Land of Passion"). The diary has two versions: One is the story of Belinda San Ramon, the spoiled, willful protagonist of the soap opera, and the other is written under the name of the actress Geraldine Bazan, who chats about her character, Belinda, and the rest of the cast. Since the diary premiered several weeks ago, other soap opera stars' publicists have started calling the network to demand their own online diaries.

The made-for-broadband video content includes T-Max, a hosted show covering celebrity events, most recently 15 five-minute shows about the Latin Billboard Awards. Telemundo is also developing Barbara Luna, a sultry online detective who presents mysteries for users to participate in, including questioning suspects.

This summer "social media" or user-generated content will be developed, giving tools to the audience to create their own content, in English and Spanish. "There are issues like immigration that we've covered as a news organization; now our audience can tell their own story," Mr. Blacker said.

Language relevancy
Programming for Yahoo Telemundo will be created in both Spanish and English, depending on which language is most relevant. Telemundo is a Spanish-language network -- although its cable channel Mun2 is mostly in English -- but Yahoo has found that most Hispanics go to Yahoo's English-language sites. In January, Yahoo en Espanol had 470,000 unique visitors, but Yahoo sites as a whole were visited by 11 million Hispanic unique visitors, according to comScore Media Metrix data.

Yahoo Telemundo will have 10 sales executives, headed by Luis Romero, a former Univision.com ad sales executive, who started two weeks ago as director of sales and has gone on the road for pre-upfront meetings with advertisers. Before the deal, Greg Coleman, Yahoo exec VP-global sales, said Yahoo had only one dedicated sales executive working alongside its main sales team on Yahoo en Espanol. The joint-venture will be managed jointly by an NBC Universal/Yahoo board.  

Although created primarily for the U.S. Hispanic market, Yahoo Telemundo may help Yahoo in other Spanish-speaking markets. While Telemundo is not a brand widely recognized outside of the U.S., Yahoo is. "We are hoping the product will be a strong magnet for users in Mexico and South America," Mr. Coleman said. "Yahoo does have a brand there. We also think there'll be a strong viral nature, so you can watch a novela online and become part of a chat group."

A round of golf
Yahoo Telemundo grew out of talks between Randy Falco, chief operating officer of NBC Universal TV Group; Keith Turner, president of NBC Universal Television group sales; Dan Rosensweig, Yahoo's chief operating officer; and Yahoo's Mr. Coleman. The four came together months ago for a golf game and ended up agreeing to work together on a plan to merge their Web interests. A major TV, radio, print, billboard and online campaign will start this summer to promote the new destination. 

Steve Mandala, senior VP-sales and marketing at Telemundo and NBC Universal, said the new site will be part of NBC's upfront presentation May 15. "The venture has to offer value to the user, viewer and advertiser. That's the trilogy we're addressing. The Internet is a newer venture and a lot of critical focus has been on prime time, and we've been having some success there, but we feel our attention is increasingly turning to online."
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