Latinx Files: Can Telemundo save Peacock?

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises introduces Tplus.
Shows scheduled for Tplus include documentary projects on soccer superstar Lionel Messi and reggaetonero J. Balvin.
(Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises; Catherine Steenkeste / Getty Images; Taylor Hill / FilmMagic)
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Last Thursday, Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo announced that it was launching Tplus, a bilingual content hub that will live on Peacock, the streaming service owned by parent company NBCUniversal, starting this fall. According to the news release, Tplus is “designed to super serve the full spectrum of today’s U.S. Hispanics.”

What exactly does that mean?

They are hoping you, the person reading this, tunes in and pays for a premium Peacock subscription.

Telemundo has many of our parents on lock. My mom, for example, isn’t going to stop watching the network anytime soon. She’s too hooked on those Turkish dramas and too reliant on the local and national news broadcasts.


But people like you and me, those born or raised on this side of the border? We aren’t Telemundo’s core audience.

We may have grown up with Spanish-language television playing in our households, but we also watched reruns of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” or “The Simpsons.” We are bicultural, often bilingual, and represent a bigger share of the overall U.S. Latinx population — in 2016, 61% were millennials or younger.

But we are also severely underserved as media consumers. According to a report commissioned by NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, Hollywood loses out on $7.8 billion every year by ignoring Latinx audiences. That’s a lot of money being left on the table, especially when you take into account that 80% of Latinxs pay for at least one streaming service, and the average family pays for four.

In an ideal world for NBCUniversal, Peacock would be among those four, and Tplus would fill that gap caused by Hollywood neglect, creating content that appeals to so-called “200%ERS,” a term Telemundo has begun using to refer to “audiences who are 100% American, and 100% Latino.”

That audience boost would surely be welcomed by Peacock. According to Forbes, the streamer reported 54 million subscribers, though it didn’t specify how many of them were paying. In contrast, HBOMax, owned by WarnerMedia, recently reported it had 73.8 million subscribers.

Judging by the initial slate of programming revealed by Telemundo, Tplus will launch with a mixed bag of shows. It includes documentary projects on soccer superstar Lionel Messi and reggaetonero J. Balvin, and a reality series tentatively called “Young at Heart,” which will feature middle-aged Latinx couples swapping their spouses for much younger partners.

In an interview with The Times, Romina Rosado, executive vice president of Hispanic streaming for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, says that having a wide array of programming is a strategic attempt to capture as broad an audience as possible. Latinxs, she points out, aren’t monolithic, and yet they continue to be treated as such.

“What traditionally happens is that you have two extremes,” Rosado said.

“You have either Spanish-language television, which serves a purpose, is very important, and it’s obviously the core part of our business. And then you have some English-language production and they’re like: ‘You know what? We need to somehow get these 63 million U.S. Hispanics. Let’s put one person in whose name is Maria or Manolo. That will make it Hispanic adjacent.’”

Tplus aims to capture the in-between that exists.

During our interview, I told Rosado I was surprised at how little English-language content they had announced.


In response, she pointed to the first-look development deal they signed with ARCUS Studios, a production company launched by Bianca Quesada, who greenlit the STARZ series “Vida.” She also mentioned that there were a lot more projects in the works.

That a Spanish-language network would go after younger Latinxs is nothing new. In 2013, archrival Univision launched Fusion (full disclosure: I worked there between 2013-15), with very little success, shuttering it at the end of 2021. Telemundo has also previously gone after this sought-after demographic with Mun2, before rebranding the channel to the sports-centric Universo in 2015.

How, then, will Tplus be different from its predecessors?

Rosado points to the very obvious: Both Fusion and Mun2 were cable networks that existed during a period when audiences had already started cutting the proverbial cord.

For the record: In an earlier version of this newsletter we attributed a quote to Bianca Quesada. The quote should have been attributed to Romina Rosado.

“I think with Mun2 and probably Fusion, if they had been launched 10 years before they were launched, they would have had the ability to build an audience that they then could have migrated into the streaming age.”

Will Tplus succeed? It’s too early to tell, though it does have one asset working in its favor: the 2022 FIFA World Cup.


Telemundo has the U.S. Spanish-language broadcasting rights to the soccer tournament and will make its coverage available on Peacock’s premium service, which costs $4.99 a month.

When the tournament rolls around, I may fork over money to watch these games in Spanish because watching soccer in English feels very foreign to me. And paying $5 to avoid having to hear commentator and known Mexico troll Alexi Lalas pontificate on the beautiful game for Fox (they have the English-language broadcast rights) is very much worth it.

NBCUniversal knows the World Cup will draw audiences to its streamer. But will the rest of the Tplus content be enough reason for them to stay? Or will it fall victim to the “churn?”

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Things we read this week that we think you should read

— Q.E.P.D.: Former Times columnist and music critic Agustin Gurza died last week at age 73.

“He was one of very few Latino writers in all of the U.S. that was considered an important opinion maker,” legendary musician Rubén Blades said of Gurza, whom he considered a friend. “I could always count on him to provide a perspective that would always help us understand better the issue.”

For my colleague Gustavo Arellano, Gurza’s work as a columnist covering Orange County was just as vital as his music writings.


“Gurza was timely and timeless, and wrote twice a week: an 800-word Tuesday columna that let him explore Southern California, and a 1,200-word Saturday O.C. deep dive,” he recalled. “His fan base was passionate — we finally had a literary baseball bat against the hilarious haters who had the run of O.C. back then.”

— Independent outlet Trucha RGV (Puro 956, cuh!) published this long read on the forced rebranding of Brownsville, Texas, for the benefit of the world’s richest man. The report draws parallels between what’s currently happening in the south Texas city and what happened at the turn of the 20th century, when the region was being marketed to white outsiders as a land of ample financial opportunity.

— Columnist Carolina Miranda wrote about the latest issue of the quarterly photography magazine Aperture, which has made “Latinx” its theme.

From her review: “The issue is compelling for a lot of reasons, but it’s particularly insightful for the ways in which it highlights how Latino visual culture has been maintained not by institutions but by so many individuals.”

For LAist, Caitlin Hernández wrote about efforts by Lincoln Heights residents to stop a mini-mansion from being built on Flat Top, a hilltop that offers 360-degree views of Los Angeles that doubles as the “favorite stop for romantic dates, joggers, and people looking to get buzzed while chilling on a dirt perch at sunset.”

The Best thing on the Latinternet this week: I can’t really explain why, but this TikTok posted by Mexico City’s Museo de Arte Moderno that uses footage from “American Psycho” and Donna Summer’s “Must Be Love” to encourage people to visit the space made me laugh so hard the first time I saw it. It’s effective marketing too. I’ve already started looking at flights to CDMX.


And now, for something a little different...

A portrait of Vicente Fernandez
Vicente Fernandez’s “voice was one of a kind.”
(Ryan Reta / For The Times)

Ryan Reta is an illustrator from Irvine. “I have always loved to draw and create and now as an adult it has become a form of meditation for me. My style is evolving, and I am looking for new challenges to grow as an artist.”

“I chose to illustrate Vicente Fernandez to honor his legacy. His voice was one of a kind and you could feel his music in your soul. Growing up, I can remember hearing my grandfather and uncles singing his songs during summer visits in Anaheim. Although I am not fluent in Spanish, the feeling was conveyed in the way Vicente sang it, and I was able to connect. RIP Vicente Fernandez. His music and legacy will live on.”

Are you a Latinx artist? We want your help telling our stories. Send us your pitches for illustrations, comics, GIFs and more! Email our art director at