NBCUniversal is planning a relaunch of its Spanish-language cabler Mun2 that will accentuate the channel’s affiliation with the Peacock.
The cabler will unveil its new name of NBC Universo on Feb. 1 as it carries the Spanish-language simulcast of NBC’s Super Bowl telecast. The rebranding comes five months after a management shuffle at Mun2 that saw Comcast vet Ruben Mendiola take over as president.
Mun2’s previous moniker was meant to reflect the “two worlds” that many U.S. Hispanics experience. NBC Universo is designed to reflect the evolution of the nation’s growing Latino population, Mendiola said. Mun2 launched in 2001 as a cable sibling of broadcast network Telemundo.
“The idea many years ago was that Latinos live in the general market world and they live in a world of Latin culture. But rather than two different worlds that are separated, we are saying that there is full universe available to us in the United States,” Mendiola told Variety. “It makes a lot of sense that we would evolve from Mun2. We are trying to go bigger and bolder.”
NBC Universo’s programming focus will remain a mix of telenovelas, unscripted series and an expanded slate of sports on weekends. Telemundo and NBC Universo will carry the World Cup soccer championships in 2016, and it will be part of NBCUniversal’s saturation coverage of the summer Olympics from Rio the same year. The World Cup build-up starts next year with broadcasts of four FIFA soccer events.
Spanish will remain the dominant language for the channel but Mendiola isn’t ruling out English-lingo material if the right project comes along.
“Our programming is going to be more emotional and edgy in the way that cable channels are versus broadcast networks,” Mendiola said. “One of the biggest challenges we’ve had (with Mun2) is that we put too many rules around what we are and what we are not. Sometimes Hispanics speak English and sometimes they speak Spanish together in a very organic way. That’s where we want to steer the channel. In this universal world there’s space for everything.”
Joe Uva, NBCUniversal’s chairman of Hispanic Enterprises and Content, said the addition of the iconic peacock image in the NBC Universo was meant to demonstrate that NBCU’s “commitment to the U.S. Hispanic market is stronger than ever.”