Launching a Spanish Language TV Network in the U.S.
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
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Launching a Spanish Language TV Network in the U.S.

On September 7, 2000, BSMG Worldwide orchestrated the launch of Azteca America Incorporated, the largest Spanish language television station in the U.S. since Univision.

Paul Holmes

On September 7, 2000, BSMG Worldwide orchestrated the launch of Azteca America Incorporated, the largest Spanish language television station in the U.S. since Univision.  The joint venture between TV Azteca, S.A. de C.V., the second largest producer of Spanish language programming in the world, and Pappas Telecasting Companies, the largest private owner of television stations in the US, offered the American Spanish-speaking public a new broadcast television network focused exclusively on the rapidly growing US Hispanic market.  With the US Hispanic viewing population estimated at 33 million, the advertising market for this segment was expected to exceed US $1 billion this year making this launch extremely important for investors, advertisers and viewers alike.  Through a carefully orchestrated public relations campaign, BSMG effectively positioned Azteca America as a better alternative to other Spanish language programming in the U.S. and generated awareness for the brand among the key audiences mentioned previously.  The campaign’s success is the result of the BSMG team’s outstanding and impressive placements among top-tier and major market media.
 
OBJECTIVES
 
BSMG’s objective was to build Azteca America’s brand image among the financial community by positioning the brand as an emerging leader in the burgeoning Hispanic broadcasting market.  At the same time, we wanted to support Azteca America’s business objectives by creating an environment that would help facilitate business partnerships and advertising through their network of stations.  In addition, BSMG anticipated building brand recognition within the broadcasting and production community to help further the growth of their affiliate stations.  Finally, we hoped to build public awareness of the new station, particularly among the Spanish-speaking public.
 
AUDIENCE
 
Our primary audience was the financial community, potential business partners, broadcasting and production community and advertisers for the station.  A secondary audience was Spanish language viewing public.
 
RESEARCH
 
Our research focused on the untapped potential in the US Hispanic market and the dearth of television outlets to reach this population.  In conducting our research, we found that:
 
The U.S. Hispanic Market is recognized as the most underdeveloped media industry segment in the United States.  Amazingly, the disparity of Hispanic consumer spending to advertising spending is over 600%.
 
With a total population of nearly 33 million (11.5% of total U.S. population) commanding a purchasing power of US$ 421 billion (1999), Spanish language TV advertising expenditures totaled $986 million in 1998.  This accounted for 58% of the total US$ 1.7 billion spent on Spanish language advertising in all media in 1998.  Total Spanish language advertising expenditures were reportedly US$ 1.9 billion in 1999.
 
Spanish language television is the most effective means of communicating with the U.S. Hispanic market as it reaches far more Hispanics each week than other Hispanic media.
 
This research helped us to direct our message and gave us the information we needed to entice our primary audience, the financial community.
 
PLANNING
 
Working in conjunction with the CEOs of TV Azteca, S.A. de C.V., and Pappas Telecasting Companies, and our own investor relations advisors, Financial Relations Board, BSMG prepared to reach potential investors and advertisers with a coordinated and closely managed launch in both the U.S. and Mexico.   BSMG worked closely with key general market and Hispanic media to effectively facilitate the launch.
 
STRATEGY
 
Building on Azteca America’s core advantages – its extensive distribution network, exclusive access to original programming, its fully integrated technology and the explosion in demand for Spanish language programming in the United States – BSMG designed a strategy that would be appealing to media and investors alike.  We determined that the use of new technology would be most efficient in helping us to reach the intended media targets most efficiently and directly.  Our strategy was to position Azteca America as a better alternative to other Spanish language stations – for both viewers and investors – because it has both superior content and extensive distribution channels already in place.  With nearly $500 million in initial equity investment and over 9,500 hours of original popular programming, Azteca America Incorporated was armed to make an immediate and significant impact on the Spanish language viewing public.
 
EXECUTION/TACTICS
 
BSMG conducted several pre-briefing interviews facilitating conversations between the company presidents and several reporters prior to announcing the news, and secured an exclusive story with The Wall Street Journal to hit the day of the announcement.
 
On September 7, 2000, we launched the venture with a real time Satellite Media Tour (SMT).       This series of one-on-one interviews with television reporters and anchors throughout their targeted region, which include New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago and Phoenix, enabled Azteca America to gain wide exposure with the most efficient use of the spokespersons’ time.  In addition, BSMG coordinated satellite time for local reporters in Mexico City to interview company presidents in the U.S., as there was much interest from investors for the publicly held company, TV Azteca.   BSMG coordinated with producers in Mexico City to obtain b-roll footage from Mexican President Zedillo and President elect Fox whereas both presidents sent messages to U.S. Hispanic audiences detailing their excitement about entering the U.S. market.  In preparation for the SMT, BSMG provided media training, pre-briefing, key messages, media alerts and booking, technical production, on-site or studio production services and monitoring and reporting on the resulting broadcasts.
 
In preparation for the launch, we developed media kits and distributed these materials to a targeted general market and Hispanic media mailing list, including business, financial and trade outlets, the financial mailing lists of both companies, TV Azteca shareholders as well as close followers of both companies.
 
On the same day, we issued a joint press release from TV Azteca and Pappas Telecasting Companies, hosted an analyst conference call, and arranged several media opportunities with national broadcast networks and on-air interviews with national television and radio outlets.  BSMG contacted Internet media, as well as industry trade publications for follow-up on the announcement.   In addition, we arranged placements in the local papers of the largest Hispanic DMAs in the US.
 
OBSTACLES
 
BSMG encountered one major obstacle in launching this highly confidential deal.    When BSMG secured an embargoed exclusive story with the Wall Street Journal competitive publications became incensed that they did not have the story as well.  BSMG worked with these publications to provide them with news that they could cover exclusively subsequent to the launch announcement.
 
MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS
 
Broadcast coverage of the event alone achieved over 35 million impressions including CNBC Squawk Box, CNNfn, Fox News Channel, Bloomberg, MSNBC and many other national stations.  Print coverage highlights included The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Examiner, Chicago Sun Times, and Miami Herald as well as trade publications such as Variety, Broadcasting and Cable, Electronic Media, Multichannel News and The Hollywood Reporter.
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