I had the opportunity to interview the founders of Fuego Television Network Andre Mullen and Manuel Jblaze Garcia about how they started the channel and how they use social media, innovative branding techniques to reach their target audience of faith based Latinos. Fuego Television is an extension of the FNF Live brand and Fuego Television is now a standalone on demand channel on HGNTV Network. Fuego Television provides the latest Christian music videos, news, event spotlights and other types of original programming that will inspire, encourage and uplift the viewing audience. http://myfuegotv.com
How did you get your started at Fuego and why is Fuego needed in the market place?
Jblaze: Fuego TV started when I was approached by someone from Endavo Media. The pitch was, "You can be the only guy that could have a HD quality full- screen channel." Back then, I didn't have original content - I was grabbing videos off the internet - but even then, I was intrigued because no one I knew or in our demographic and genre had it.
When I started to blog and with the growth of YouTube, my direction for it changed drastically, and even then I wasn't looking at it like a television channel. After a year, things didn't work out with Endavo and I just left it alone and focused on some other things. Shortly after, I was approached by CEO of UnoRed about a new digital cable service that he was creating called HGN-TV and he asked if I was interested in having a channel on his digital cable service. I said yes and we worked it out and the rest, well, is history.
There is a huge void of content that caters to faith based Latinos and we are determined to be the avenue to speak to this demo. I'm Latino, and I know that finding any type of content or programming that speaks to me is hard to come by. So, the best way to do it is to create it and create it with a style and look that is excellent.
Andre:When I first met J, I knew about some of the things that he was doing with Fuego Television on Endavo. I was obviously impressed as there wasn't anyone doing anything remotely close to what he was doing in the market. We were just friends then and by the time I came on board as a partner, he told me about the new set up with UnoRed/HGN-TV. At first, I was very excited about this, but then the reality of running a network set in and I can honestly say that I got very focused on how to create a network with a unique identity from the business angle. It took some time, but with some serious discussions, strategizing, and most of all, prayer, J and I saw exactly how we had to approach Fuego Television from a branding, marketing, and advertising perspective. We have a small squad, but we are intent on providing people with the best in exclusive content. We haven't "arrived", but we're making sure that we work with what we have and maximize that.
What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today?
Andre: I think the biggest challenge facing our industry is toward our demographic. There are still brands that underestimate both their buying power and the influence of our key demographics.
For so long, Latinos have been written off as a demo of immigrants and "subclass people". But with the growing demographic across the United States comes the growing buying power of the demographic. Our secondary demographic, urban Christians, are merely people who are in are in urban settings who have keen fashion sense, use the latest technology and social media, are well aware via current events, but who have adopted and embraced a Christian world view, living their lives according to the Bible, and are regular church attendees.
Jblaze: I think the biggest challenge facing our industry is the lack of outlets for the display of content/programming to our demo. It's to be expected I guess because of our content, which most mainstream media may consider religious. However, the challenge is not in changing our content, it is constantly innovating it so that it is both relevant and easy to digest.
What's your goal in using social media for all the Brands that FNF Media Group has?
Jblaze: We want to use social media to expose and connect faith based Latinos and the urban Christian and brands to each other. Brands need to know that our demographic uses their products and our demographics need to see that there are brands that they could use. In addition, brands that have a level of integrity and are community minded are brands that we want to really work with as our demographics are all about community.
Andre: Our brands consists of radio (FNFLive), internet (FNFLive.com & MyFuegoTV.com), and television (Fuego Television) and within all of those, our goal is to heavily integrate social media in ways that people have never experienced before.
Jblaze: Our experience with seeing how the average person interacts with social media is based on the amount of status updates via Facebook and Twitter and the amount of views on YouTube. With such a great amount of people interacting with social media platforms like this, we want to create content that is integrated with the social media outlets they already use.
What advice do you give small business that want to use social media to promote their business?
Jblaze: Small businesses need to use social media to put them on an even platform with bigger brands. Social media allows them to look big even though they're small. Honestly, if small businesses aren't taking part in social media, they're not going to grow and they're going to get left behind.
Andre: I agree. Small businesses not taking advantage of social media are really behind the times. We're in the age of socionomics - the age where social mood causes social action. Small businesses will thrive if they understand that they need to bring products to their audience and not wait for the audience to come to their product.
What do you think is the future for using social media for your channel?
Jblaze: As times passes, we're becoming more mobile and as mobile increases, it will onlyenhance our brand. We're at a special place because we cover both spectrums of media - the ears and the eyes. It will make us more available to the consumer and the user. We are "media inside media", meaning, we have the ability to use different platforms of communication to communicate across the senses. Mobile is another avenue that we're looking at because so many people are using social media via their smart phones. We pride ourselves on being innovative as a media company so we're making sure that we stay on top of, and ahead of, what's happening now.
Andre: J said it best. Our desire is to bring an innovative end user experience and integrate social media with it so that it is, in essence, a norm for people. If it's like that, then people will be able to not only digest it better, but they will be more apt to use it without frustration.
Fuego Television provides the latest Christian music videos, news, event spotlights and other types of original programming that will inspire, encourage and uplift the viewing audience. http://myfuegotv.com
Roger Maloney is the VP of Vanguarde Consulting Group and company that prepare small business for the digital age. Roger can be reached at email@example.com.
Read all Roger's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Tribl Media Insights.
Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.com
Follow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBlogger
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.