Series About Latino Race Car Drivers, Free Telenovela Streaming Service Among New Bids for Attention of Hispanic Audiences

January 22, 2015 by No Comments

Television and internet production technology concept

NASCAR isn’t a sport closely associated in popular imagination with either Latino athletes or audiences. But Cuba-born telenovela heartthrob William Levy is hoping to change that by partnering with NASCAR Productions to produce a docu series focusing on Hispanic race car drivers.

The series will highlight the challenges and successes of drivers as they attempt to make names for themselves both in the world of NASCAR and the United States in general.

“I’m truly thrilled about partnering with NASCAR and I can’t wait to show my fans worldwide this creative endeavor,” said Levy, according to a Jan. 9 Deadline Hollywood report.

Levy and NASCAR Productions will be joined by Gladys Gonzalez in producing the project, which will be packaged by CAA. They plan to pitch the show, which is still unnamed, to networks in February.

NASCAR Productions said the company and its Entertainment Marketing division, based in Los Angeles, want to integrate the sport into mainstream culture and draw in more diverse audiences.

“Our goal is to produce original TV, film and digital projects that highlight some of the most compelling stories in NASCAR,” said Zane Stoddard, vice president of Entertainment Marketing. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with William Levy and his team on a project we believe both sports and non-sports fans alike will enjoy.”

Pulling In Latino Audiences
The desire to create more shows that will appeal to Latino audiences is also connected to the goals of building advertising and brand awareness opportunities.

Although — as Portada reminded marketers Jan. 14 — estimates for the U.S. Hispanic population by 2050 have been lowered by about 30 million, Latino populations are still expected to represent one of the biggest markets for advertisers in years to come.

Just this week, Spanish-language entertainment company Latin Everywhere launched a Hulu-like service that will offer free episodes of Venezuelan telenovelas to American audiences. Episodes will be only in Spanish at first, though English subtitles may be added at a later time. The service, available both through a website and iOS and Android apps, is called Pongalo.

The eventual goal for Pongalo, Latin Everywhere Chairman Rich Hull told the website Gigaom, is to launch a paid service. But this will require building brand recognition and an audience base. This initial stage then takes a move from the traditional print marketing playbook of giving away free promotional materials — about 84% of Americans remember a company’s name when they receive promotional gifts from the brand, research shows — in hopes of bringing in greater revenue from a specific market segment in the future.

“There [is] an extraordinary amount of advertising dollars flooding into the Hispanic digital media space right now, and brands are desperate for ways to connect with Hispanic consumers in the digital world,” said Hull.

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