NATPE: Univision, Viacom CBS and Canal Plus Reveal Key Audience Strategies

Understanding what audiences want at any given time, creating services that switch seamlessly between linear and VOD, and providing in-app interactivity for live programming are key to attracting audiences, according to a NATPE Miami panel on the subject.

First up was Jessica Rodriguez, president of entertainment and chief marketing officer of Spanish-language network Univision, which became the fastest growing network in the U.S. last year, posting a 12% year-over-year growth.

Challenged on the secrets of Univision’s success, the executive revealed that given everything a turbulent 2020 has brought, the ability pivot between information and escapism at any given moment was crucial.

To do this, she added, the network drew on existing audience research on what it means to be a Latino in the U.S., which Univision distilled into several key pillars that binds its audience together.

These included values of “collectivism” – the belief that the communities are stronger together; cultural pride; the experience of duality involved in switching back and forth between English and Spanish programming, as well the push and pull of nostalgia, “a respect for tradition but the desire to connect with the new and the next,” she revealed.

According to Rodriguez, from these pillars the broadcaster “married mindsets” with audience behaviors in 2020, which, she observed, ranged at any given moment from “wanting news and information about current events, to engaging with social and wanting complete escapism.”

Univision is also launching its own ad-supporting streaming service, Prende TV in an increasingly crowded market – a move, that Rodriguez adds, was a response to high audience demand – 90% among those surveyed.

The executive added that there was also a general belief among Latino consumers in the U.S. that they are being underserved in the market.

“Ultimately there isn’t a service where they can have an in-culture in-language experience in Spanish where their favorite shows are reflected in one place,” she added.

Viacom CBS’ senior marketing VP for streaming Marco Nobili also outlined the media giant’s strategy behind the global roll out of its new ad-supported and subscription-based streamers.

Nobili said that a key aspect of Viacom’s AVOD, PlutoTV – first announced last August – was its ability for audiences to switch seamlessly between linear and catch-up.

“We’ve made it easy to consume. You have a linear side of the house where you can watch standard linear channels and you have your VOD part where you can consume content and you are able to move very naturally, very organically, from one side to the other,” he explained.

He added that upselling to Viacom’s subscription service, Paramount Plus, was also part of the audience strategy, allowing viewers to sample the product for free on AVOD first.

Nobili revealed that ViacomCBS is currently revamping Paramount Plus to create a “supersized product” in key territories such as LatAm, the Nordics and Australia where its free-to-air channels and AVOD services already have a presence.

Matthieu Montigaud, product manager at Canal Plus added that an important digital strategy in recent years for the French pay TV operator, has been to move away from second screen applications to create interactivity, chat and gamification within the platform itself.

To this end, it has been working with tech platforms such as LiveLike, which provide tools for media owners to create live interactive experiences within their own platform.

“With live sports we want our audiences to react on MyCanal not on Twitter or Facebook – so it became key for us to move back to the ‘first screen’,” he said.

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