NBCU focuses on growth for Spanish-lingo broadcaster and cabler

NBCUniversal is kicking its Hispanic-focused properties into gear in more ways than one: Telemundo and cabler Mun2 are at the center of NBCU topper Steve Burke’s growth strategy, and the latter net has renewed its bilingual drag racing drama “RPM Miami” for a second season (entitled “RPM 2″) barely two weeks after its May 1 preem.

Mun2 has also greenlit singing competish skein “El Mas Ching*n,” which will mount a talent search.

Like other media congloms, NBCU is targeting the Latino market on the heels of Census data pointing to the rapid population growth among Hispanic Americans.

“Hispanics make up 16% of the population, but we receive 4% of the (TV advertising) revenue,” said outgoing Telemundo topper Don Browne at Tuesday morning’s press conference. “That’s frankly unacceptable.”

NBCU Entertainment & Digital Networks division topper Lauren Zalaznick, who now oversees Telemundo and Mun2, opened the presentation with a few words about the newfound importance of Hispanic media. “The place where my boss, Steve Burke, looks to find growth, more and more, is the Telemundo group,” she said. “That’s exciting to me as a businessperson.”

Telemundo unveiled plans for four new novelas, including one co-produced by Sony Pictures that will be based on the 2002 Jennifer Lopez comedy “Maid in Manhattan.” It also touted its push into news and sports programming.

But much of the focus was on Mun2. It has gotten ad traction ad sales success with “RPM,” which has a “Fast and the Furious” kind of feel. Chevy and Valvoline are major sponsors on a show that offers plenty of integration opportunities for automotive advertisers. Mun2 programming head Flavio Morales said the decision to renew “RPM” so quickly was an easy one.

Morales also said that “I Love Jenni,” Mun2’s reality skein featuring Latin music star Jenni Rivera, will have a second airing on its sibling cabler Style. The hope is the cross-pollination among fashionistas and Spanish-lingo viewers will bring more eyeballs to both Mun2 and Style.Mun2 topper Diana Mogollon said the cabler’s long-term goal is to move out of the Spanish-lingo channel tiers on cable and satellite operators and into lifestyle and music cable tiers.

“It’s not about the language,” Mogollon said. “A lot of our programming is in English, if you want to talk about that, but it’s about lifestyle,” Mogollon said.

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