NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and global youth media brand Vice Media have struck an exclusive content partnership to tell Latin American stories aimed at Hispanic millennials in the U.S.
The multi-year agreement includes the creation of documentary segments for Noticias Telemundo, as well as the production of weekly program Universo Vice. The series serves as Vice’s first-ever show produced specifically for the U.S. Hispanic market, with cable channel Universo snagging exclusive broadcast rights and content to appear across Telemundo’s digital platforms.
Vice benefits from Telemundo’s influence and reach in the U.S. Hispanic community, while Telemundo profits from Vice’s innovative approach which has made it popular among millennials.
“Vice has injected momentum into the factual content industry and has managed to connect with a younger audience like no other media company,” says Telemundo’s President Luis Silberwasser. “It is an ideal partner for our growth strategy with the young Hispanic audience.”
The executive says the media group looks for every alliance to work in a complementary fashion, whether that’s at a technological, audience or content level.
“Each company will be dedicated to what it does best. In the case of Telemundo and Universo, there is deep knowledge of the Hispanic audience. In the case of Vice, there is the unique capacity to produce appealing content for the youngest public,” says Silberwasser.
Millennial Issues that Matter
A study released by the PEW Research Center says Latinos are the youngest demographic in the United States, representing 20 percent of the millennial population.
“Latin America is a vein of content for Hispanics in the United States, given the evident cultural relationship. Most of our viewers and users were born in Latin American countries and maintain a constant connection with their home countries,” says Silberwasser.
Documentary segments focus on a wide range of topics such as music, culture, food, the environment and migration.
“The stories we are looking for address a varied agenda aimed at understanding those living in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Also, based on very particular subjects and characters, [we want] to be able to understand the major issues that are concerning young people,” says Laura Woldenberg, content director, Vice Media Mexico.
The first episode of Universo Vice—a one-hour show in four segments—explores topics such as oil theft in Mexico; money counterfeiting in Lima, Peru, which is considered the world capital of counterfeit dollars; the illegal trade of wild animals; and the rising trend of young Latinos taking on sugar-daddies.
The content strategy stems from immersive journalism in which a host gets involved in the story.
“It is the stamp we have historically had since we began making videos,” says Woldenberg. “Our hosts are genuine people, who are not dull, have no filter, and establish a closeness with the audience, from the perspective of what it is like to live in Mexico.”
That’s why Universo Vice selected Mexican TV host Beto Ruiz. Born in the border town of Tijuana, Ruiz says in a promotional spot that he feels privileged to have grown up in a place exposed to two cultures. Ruiz defines the program as a space for unfiltered reports on current issues.
“I think Universo Vice is going to catch on because the Hispanic audience is thirsty for this kind of journalism,” says Ruiz in the video. “Young people want and need a new insight into the world around us and, from now on, we will be able to enjoy it in our own language.” A narrator also explains Universo Vice is “another way of looking at the present.”
In another promo, Ruiz says “it is time to look at the world as it is.”
“The idea is to tell those stories that have not been told and that have been poorly covered in traditional media,” says Woldenberg.
In addition, she believes what unifies Latin America is the wide range of opportunities and challenges shared by the different countries, “from economic crises and problems of democracy, to [the ability] to experience change and openness towards gender, environmental and drug policy issues and, of course, the sharing of many cultural topics,” she adds.
The partnership emphasizes strategies both companies already have been developing on their own, says Silberwasser. While Vice plans to expand its presence in the region in association with Globosat in Brazil, NBCUniversal and Telemundo already have other alliances with companies such as Mashable, Vox, Tastemade, Buzzfeed, Snap, Musical.ly and Endemol Shine Latino.