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Building up Fox Kids in Latin America

Jun 18, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Interviewing teen-agers kissing in a nightclub in Mar del Plata, Argentina, isn’t the usual way programming executives gain their first bit of television experience. But that’s what worked for Emiliano Calemzuk, the 28-year-old vice president and general manager of Fox Kids Latin America.
Mr. Calemzuk, born and raised in the Argentinian town, landed his first job in television the summer after high school, when he went to work for a local cable show and thrust his microphone in front of lip-locked boys and girls. “I enjoyed it very much,” said Mr. Calemzuk.
He knew, though, that if he wanted a career in television he would have to leave his native country for the United States. Mar del Plata is a fishing port and a beach town, he explained. “Basically your only chance of doing something is you have to move to Buenos Aires. I figured if I had to move to Buenos Aires, I might as well go someplace else,” he said.
That someplace else was the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in marketing at the Wharton School of Business.
He has since put his marketing know-how to good use at Fox Kids Latin America. In 1998, the channel ranked seventh among seven kids’ networks in Latin America in prime-time ratings. Now it is the No. 2-rated kids’ network out of eight in that region, he said.
Before assuming the general manager’s post last summer, Mr. Calemzuk served as associate director of marketing and promotions at Canal Fox and Fox Kids, where he shepherded the development of Copa Fox Kids (Fox Kids Cup), a soccer tournament for kids that has grown from four countries in Latin America in 1999 to 20 countries in Latin America, Europe and the United States.
Mr. Calemzuk recognizes the value of leveraging the brand across multiple platforms. The network is currently developing online games based on its characters. “Eventually, it is a digital world. It will evolve into cellphones, wireless devices. Kids are more versatile and manage tools and gadgets a lot better than [adults],” he said.
But the network attracts an audience more diverse than its 8- to 12-year-old target demographic. On June 11, Fox Kids Latin America was slated to launch an 11 p.m.-to-5 a.m. programming block called “Insomnia” that will feature the “great cartoons you watched as a kid,” Mr. Calemzuk said.
Broadening the audience beyond kids is essential, he said. “In an environment like cable that is very competitive for ad sales, you need to target who is watching and take the opportunity that exists at the time.”
Mr. Calemzuk splits his time among his Los Angeles office, Fox Kids Latin America’s Miami ad sales department and the network’s regional offices in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Mexico City, where he meets with cable systems and key clients. His own Latin American roots have helped him understand the cultural differences between the United States and Latin America, he said. “Latin Americans are people people. You have to talk to them, see them in person, shake their hands, take them out to lunch.”
And that is not a problem for the outgoing and ebullient Mr. Calemzuk.