The network, directed both at Latinos and a mainstream audience, remains on track to launch as scheduled, with the initial programming lineup released at or shortly before launch, Rodriguez told the crowd watching his 50-minute appearance from the Hard Rock Cafe. At first, El Rey will target men and millennials with an assortment of "kick-ass entertainment" from series to action sports, but in time, will broaden its aim to include women and family audiences.
Ultimately, his network may blossom into a set of channels, similar to the family of basic cable/satellite services operated by ESPN, Nickelodeon and Univision, which became El Rey's ally this past mid-May at Univision's Times Square area upfront presentation. "We may need a few channels before too long," Rodriguez remarked. "We've got the capacity and the talent to make this into a family."
El Rey will utilize Rodriguez' 26-acre production complex in Austin, Texas, combined with a mix of established and new talent of color. "I want to offer a way for people who don't have a voice at TV networks to have a voice," he explained. "Our channel doesn't live with the red tape of a normal network. We can do what we want and let the audience decide if they accept it or not. Anybody can come in and tell a story that audiences will love. Let's make this the people's network."
An "incredible talent roster" is at work creating material for El Rey, Rodriguez said. Submissions from independent producers and new talent are welcome, from dramas to documentaries and short subjects. Advertiser interest is high, with some sponsors willing to work with Rodriguez and colleagues to create special messages, or tweak spots currently on the air, for Latino viewers.
So far, the relationship with Univision has been smooth sailing, comparable to what transpired with independent distributor Miramax when acquired by Disney years ago. "Miramax was still Miramax under that association, because they tapped more resources while retaining its independence," Rodriguez observed. "Univision treats us at that cool network. That's what a good partner does. Really smart."
An adaptation of Rodriguez's movie From Dusk to Dawn is the only El Rey series announced so far. Script work continues on a James Bond-type spy hour, under executive producers/writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
El Rey is one of two English-language services Univision became engaged with this year to expand its Latino TV reach beyond Spanish-language channels. Fusion, its joint venture with ABC News consisting of news and lifestyle content, debuts late next month.
More observations from Advertising Week's passing parade:
Advertising Week will launch a track of activities at International CES, the mammoth Consumer Electronics Association-run showcase, next January in Las Vegas. At a mid-afternoon panel Wednesday, LG Electronics divulged the company will premiere a new smart TV operating system that's upgradable on a regular basis without changing out TV sets.
Rovio's on-demand Toons.tv service, running those Angry Birds cartoon shorts (based on the company's game sensation) on mobile phones and Samsung's smart TVs, will soon make the leap to 24/7 home for content crafted in-house and by a variety of outside suppliers, including Hasbro Studios and legendary superhero comics writer Stan Lee. "We're moving from being a game company to a media and entertainment company," says video vice president Rachel Weller.
In the hunt for attendee relationships outside Times Center Wednesday afternoon: The Weather Channel, Time Warner Cable and the New York Post. Yahoo's troops returned as well, black and white jelly beans in hand. At one point, they formed a gauntlet on the W. 41st St. sidewalk for their new app pitch.The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.