Why Telemundo is launching a Latino-focused programming hub on Peacock
Seeking to broaden the appeal of its streaming service Peacock, NBCUniversal said Thursday it plans to launch a Latino-focused programming hub, Tplus, on the platform.
The new offering, which is scheduled to launch this fall on Peacock, is designed to be a digital extension of NBCUniversal’s popular Spanish-language television network, Telemundo.
But with younger consumers increasingly turning to online sources for news, sports and entertainment, NBCUniversal has been forced to rethink its Latino-focused programming strategy.
Telemundo’s business also has been affected by demographic shifts, including a growing number of younger audiences who don’t speak Spanish as their primary language.
The Comcast-owned company also recognizes that Latinos make up one of the largest and most valuable demographics for marketers, so it is under pressure to boost its offerings to compete with such mainstream video services as Hulu and Netflix.
The new programming channel will be available on Peacock’s premium tier, which costs $4.99 a month, potentially giving NBCUniversal’s 18-month-old streaming service a lift.
The autumn launch of Tplus will coincide with one of NBCUniversal’s marquee sports events: Telemundo’s broadcast of FIFA’s 2022 World Cup from Qatar. Because audiences often find the Spanish-language World Cup coverage to be more thrilling than English-language broadcasts, NBCUniversal’s ability to stream Telemundo’s World Cup coverage on Peacock could serve as a hook for new subscribers.
Telemundo and Peacock will provide Spanish-language coverage of the World Cup in the U.S.; Fox Sports has rights from FIFA to the English-language broadcasts.
Executives often tout the importance of Spanish-language audiences, and if recent deals are any clue, Latino viewers are a key part of the streaming wars.
Peacock already offers Telemundo’s Spanish-language programming, a mix of telenovelas, children’s programming and dubbed TV shows and movies like “Die Hard” and “The Forbidden Kingdom.”
But Tplus is expected to amplify such efforts with a “significant expansion of Spanish-language titles on the service,” NBCUniversal said in a statement, adding that it will include such popular programs as “Café con Aroma de Mujer,” “Yo Soy Betty la Fea” and “Malverde.”
Thursday’s announcement comes eight months after NBCUniversal launched Telemundo Streaming Studios to produce shows for various streaming platforms. Based in Miami, the studio started with 35 projects in development, including “El Marginal,” which has been popular on Netflix.
Telemundo recognized that, in a more competitive Spanish-language market, shows must have higher production values than the soapy telenovelas that have long run on TV.
Telemundo Streaming Studios will provide content for Tplus.
The competition for Latino viewers is steep. Last year, Telemundo arch-rival Univision launched PrendeTV, a free, ad-supported streaming Spanish-language service for the U.S. Hispanic market. Netflix is spending more than $200 million a year to produce content in Mexico. Walt Disney Co., which launched Disney+ in Latin America in late 2020, has said it plans to make 70 original programs for the region.
“As the #1 producer of scripted Spanish-language content in the U.S., we are tapping into our deep production expertise and understanding of our audience to launch Tplus, the first and only content brand at scale focused on serving U.S. Hispanics who feel 100% Latino and 100% American,” Beau Ferrari, chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, said in a statement announcing Tplus.
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This is not the first time that Telemundo has experimented with a dual-language strategy to reach Latino viewers.
Years ago, it tried to revamp Telemundo’s sister cable channel, then known as Mun2, to appeal to bilingual Latinos. But the company did not invest heavily in the channel, and it eventually was rebranded as a sports channel.
Separately, Univision and Disney’s ABC News invested heavily but failed at their experiment to reach young, multicultural Latinos — a cable channel and news service called Fusion. Disney bailed on the money-losing joint venture in 2016, and Univision pulled the plug on Fusion at the end of 2021.
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