Category Archives: Technology

Hispanic viewers stand to gain from Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

Much has been said about the negative impact that a media merger between the top two cable operators in the country could bring. Many believe that is the reason television and cable networks are opposed to it. Or is it?

For many networks, this may translate into lower revenue for them which means more money into the pockets of consumers. For the first time, a cable operator may have potential leverage over how much consumers pay for television. For years cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have been raising the alarm over fees that both cable and television networks demand of them for carriage rights.

So, what’s in it for Hispanic audiences ? A lot.

Comcast-owned, Telemundo, has been producing original programming for years. Recently, they have been slowly chipping away at Univision’s core audience and that hurts. Ten years ago, Univision was flaunting to anyone who would listen that Telemundo was no competition for them but rather its sister network, UniMas, formerly Telefutura. And while the numbers aren’t quite there yet for Telemundo, Univision knows that sooner or later, it can overtake their main network.

For starters, some of Latin America’s top talent has been acquired by Telemundo. They have managed to secure beloved talent like Aracely Arambula, Diego Schoening, Adamari Lopez, Eugenio Siller and most recently Lucero, into their circle. Telemundo discovered Latin heartthrob William Levy too. Unlike Univision, whose telenovelas and other shows tend to be acquired from Mexico’s media giant Televisa, Telemundo produces most of theirs. Should Televisa ever pull the plug on Univision, although highly unlikely, the network will surely sink. Univision has tried to produce their own telenovelas but have yet to have any real and tangible success.

Secondly, former Univision talent have been quietly slipping over to the “other” side: Ana Maria Canseco, Raul Gonzalez, Neida Sandoval and Maria Celeste Arraras, to name a few. There has also been speculation that recently fired, Rodner Figueroa, is in talks to join the Telemundo family. Whether that’s true or not, remains to be seen.

However, the firing of Rodner Figueroa does bring up the issue of lack of diversity at Univision. For anyone who has tuned into the their local Univision news station, it is evident. News anchors like Fabiola Kramsky, Felicidad Aveleyra and Leon Krauze where flown from their native countries, given work papers and a contract to work for Univision. The company did not opt to hire on-air news talent that was born and raised in the United States. Instead, they imported them from another country to represent those who grew up in the States. How is that possible? Because they can.

And yet it is no surprise that most Univision talent, do not represent the Hispanic framework of Latinos in the United States. Leon Krauze also works for the Univision-owned cable network, Fusion, which represents Latinos born and raised in the United States. But how can someone who did not grow up in the U.S., who can barely speak English, represent those that were? Perhaps because he worked for Univision’s long-time distribution partner, Televisa. In hiring its on-air talent, Univision skipped the colorful array of Hispanic-Americans who were born and raised in the U.S.

Last month’s article from NPR summed it nicely:

“NYU Professor Arlene Davila, who studies Latino media, says she’s not surprised. ‘I think that anybody who watches Univision regularly … will notice the white, white space that station historically has been,’ she says. ‘You’re not going to see Indo-Latinos, you’re not going to see Afro-Latinos.’ In fact, she says, the Univision landscape is often whiter than mainstream U.S. television.”

Comcast, on the other hand, has a record of hiring minorities of all backgrounds. Not just on their cable operating business but as part of their on-air talent. Minority participation in news and public affairs programming has been a staple trademark of the media giant.

Should the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger go through, it will be a win-win situation for all American consumers, not just Hispanics.

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