Telemundo in Line for Internet Sites

Oct 13, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC plans to introduce Internet sites for its 15 Telemundo stations within the next few months, a groundbreaking move that could position Telemundo as first out of the gate in the race to win the online Hispanic audience.
Except for a few Web sites that primarily provide programming information, neither Telemundo nor front-runner Univision have had unique Web sites for each of their local TV stations.
In fact, Web content for the Hispanic consumer-the news consumer in particular-has been limited. That means if Telemundo and NBC do this right, they could capitalize on a tremendous online opportunity.
NBC and Telemundo began the heavy lifting about four to six weeks ago in conjunction with IBS, NBC’s Web partner, which develops and produces Web sites for the NBC-owned stations and other station groups.
“The Hispanic viewer is one of the fastest-growing viewer areas,” said Steve Schwaid, senior VP, news and programming, for the NBC-owned-stations group.
The Web sites will not be carbon copies of the successful English-language sites for the NBC owned stations, many of which are tops in their markets for Web viewership. “You have to serve the Hispanic family with information oriented toward them,” Mr. Schwaid said.
To do that, Telemundo has conducted extensive research on the news audience and key issues for the Hispanic viewer. That includes information on immigration, education, medical resources and services and on adapting to U.S. laws and society. “[These are some of the] things the Web sites are going to be able to really offer,” Mr. Schwaid said.
The Web sites will follow the model of the NBC-owned stations, with an emphasis on breaking news, daily news and weather. But they will be tailored to the particular local Hispanic audience. For instance, if an NBC-owned station were to post a story on education on its existing site, the important issue might be, “How does my kid’s school rate?” Mr. Schwaid said. The key angle for the Telemundo sites would be: “What are the questions to ask my kid’s teachers on getting the best education?” he said. “For the Telemundo viewer it’s the first or second generation and they are learning the ways of getting around the United States.”
Another distinction of the Telemundo sites will be tailored international content. IBS delivers the same national and international news to its 70 English-language Web station sites, since local markets usually don’t want that information customized, said Reid Johnson, president and founder of IBS. However, the Los Angeles Hispanic market would be more interested in news from Mexico and the Miami Hispanic market in news from Cuba, he said. IBS will customize the news for the Telemundo stations accordingly, he said.
The Internet does not contain much content targeted to U.S. Hispanics, said Adriana Waterston, director of marketing for Horowitz Associates, which conducts consumer research, particularly as it relates to multicultural audiences. That’s because most media companies didn’t pay close attention to the Hispanic audience until the 2000 Census, which detailed the growth of that market, and because Internet content is still in its infancy, she said.
“If what [Telemundo and NBC] are planning to deliver is a site that really captures and is a source of relevant information for the Hispanic Internet user, that provides access to all different types of information, then I think they would be incredibly successful and really provide a benchmark for other media brands who are looking to make a name for themselves on the Internet among Latinos and other multicultural consumers,” she said.
Telemundo sites will have complete access to content from other Telemundo station sites or the NBC-owned station sites, he said.
In fact, while the Web sites have been under construction, NBC has begun translating a few stories every day into Spanish on the NBC-owned station sites throughout the group during coverage of the recall election in California. In addition, some NBC-owned sites offer streaming video of a Telemundo KVEA-TV story from Los Angeles each day in Spanish.