Hispanic TV Summit: Don Francisco Touts “Three-Screen Approach”
By Joel Topcik -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/23/2009
In a keynote speech kicking off the 7th annual Hispanic Television Summit in New York City, legendary broadcaster Don Francisco urged advertisers and programmers to find the right “marketing mix” to reach Hispanic media consumers. And he stressed the need for the growing Hispanic media sector to adapt to new technologies and emerging platforms.
“I’m convinced that the proper combination [of platforms] will allow us to engage the consumer,” said Francisco, the creator and host of Univision’s variety juggernaut Sábado Gigante, at the B&C/Multichannel News event at New York’s Marriott Marquis.
Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, recounted how “creative and effective advertising,” particularly product integration, helped make his globally distributed show the longest-running variety show in TV history.
“Integration was for us the most important thing,” he said, pointing to the show’s famous audience sing-alongs to ad jingles as a way “make the audience part of the advertiser’s message.”
However, Francisco cautioned that integration and placement can’t be disruptive or out of place within a program. “Some marketers forget that advertising still needs to be entertaining,” he said. “It should be done in a way that the viewer is barely aware that they are watching an advertisement.”
Francisco marveled how much the Hispanic market—which accounted for $5 billion in ad spending in 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence estimates—has evolved since Sábado Gigante relocated from his native Chile to the U.S. in 1986, and began its run on Univision.
While many advertisers initially didn’t recognize the importance of communicating to Hispanic audiences in their own language, Francisco commended Procter & Gamble for understanding the show’s credo: “Separated by distance; united by one language.”
Now, he said, the challenge is stay current with new media and adopt a “three-screen approach” to reach consumers via TV, the Web and mobile video.
Referring to the show’s use of Skype to interact with viewers on-screen and its segments featuring viewer-submitted videos, Francisco said, “I attribute our success to our ability to adapt to our audiences and to changing technology.”
Francisco reminisced about his first trip to New York nearly 50 years ago and his first encounter with a television set. “It was love at first sight,” he said. And after 47 years as host of Sábado Gigante, Francisco still believes TV will remain the dominant medium “as long as people need to communicate.”