Spanish-language cable net Discovery Familia is building up its profile in the Hispanic TV universe with its recent launch on US satellite provider DishLATINO, which has more than 14.3 million subscribers. With the pick-up and its pre-existing carriage on Direct TV, Comcast and Warner Cable Vision, the channel now has almost full market penetration. So it’s now in the process of leveraging the increase in reach. The plan is to tap further into the growing US interest in Hispanic television, particularly in content targeting moms and their kids.
‘When you consider that 25% of children in the US under the age of five are Hispanic, and it’s one of the fastest growing demographics in the country, the implications for the future of the network are clear,’ says Bilai Joa Silar, VP and channel director of Discovery’s US Hispanic networks.
The Discovery US Hispanic group recently conducted a survey in which 90% of Spanish-speaking women surveyed said they’re looking for Spanish-language programming that portrays women in a better light. So along with catering to preschoolers, the channel is constructing a strong slate geared towards moms. And this past spring, it made a concerted effort to go after advertisers targeting Hispanic moms at its first-ever upfront presentation.
‘The driving philosophy is that it’s about her kids, her home and lastly about her,’ says Joa Silar.
Starting at 6 a.m., the network runs a preschool-focused daypart with curriculum-based series that include a number of acquisitions dubbed into Spanish in-house. Hi-5 (E1 Entertainment), Milly, Molly (Beyond Entertainment, Scrawl Studios), Sea Princesses (Southern Star, Neptuno Films, Flama Films) and Mister Maker (RDF) are just some of the offerings. At 9 p.m., the schedule switches to non-fiction programming that focuses on three strands – parenting, home and lifestyle and fashion and beauty advice – all aimed directly at Spanish-speaking moms.
Joa Silar’s keeping tight-lipped about acquisition deals currently in progress that are expected to be announced in the fall. But moving forward on the preschool block, she’s looking to add premieres of curriculum-based series that are entertaining to both children and moms. In particular, she’s interested in prescriptive content and programs that reinforce healthy eating habits.
‘Obesity is a concern, especially for the US Hispanic market, so we want to talk about nutrition and how to care for your family,’ says Joa Silar. As for Hispanic cultural content, she says it’s not a priority. ‘We won’t pick something up just because it’s Latin American,’ she says. ‘We have a bigger responsibility to give viewers rich educational content.’
In the meantime, Discovery Familia has created an animated mascot named Doki (a dog-like six-year-old who metaphorically represents the preschool audience) to host the preschool block and help integrate on-air programming with the channel’s online component, which is heavy on games and activities. Additionally, as Doki helps viewers navigate through programming breaks, he ends up teaching them things about the world through his curious adventures. For example, in one interstitial he explores where milk comes from and then learns about the benefits of ingesting calcium.
The network is also gearing up for a major publicity campaign in the fourth quarter of this year that will drive consumer awareness and make marketing opportunities top-of-mind with advertisers.
To complement an on-air rebrand, fall plans include a multi-faceted campaign with several grassroots marketing and PR components. Joa Silar says the main objective will be to reach potential viewers in Hispanic neighborhoods of major US cities like Chicago, L.A. and New York. Discovery Familia is also working on a national media tour to coincide with the marketing push that will highlight the network’s benefits directly to Hispanic moms and their kids.