Telelatino tires more mainstream fare

Most viewers, it's fair to say, flip right past Telelatino (TLN) when they're channel-surfing. If they do pause, it's most likely to ogle the runway models who host the variety shows. John Montesano, however, would like to convince them to stay...

Most viewers, it’s fair to say, flip right past Telelatino (TLN) when they’re channel-surfing. If they do pause, it’s most likely to ogle the runway models who host the variety shows.

John Montesano, however, would like to convince them to stay a little longer.

In a bid to boost ratings and capture a share of the mainstream audience, Canada’s Italian and Hispanic television network has made a number of significant changes in recent months, adding subtitled movies, English-language programs and more accessible material such as music videos to its broadcast schedule.

In addition, TLN has begun producing more original programming, in the hope of strengthening its identity as a distinctly Canadian service, rather than simply a rebroadcaster of foreign content.

The changes are designed to increase the channel’s appeal to three key segments, says Montesano, director of programming and market development for Toronto-based TLN Television Network. The first is younger Italian-Canadians whose first language is English. The second is viewers with specific interests, such as fans of Latin music. And the third is simply the general mass of channel-surfers out there.

Subtitled programming is one means of attracting younger viewers. In October, TLN began airing Italian and Spanish movies with English subtitles. The channel has also added subtitled programs such as Angeles, a Spanish-language remake of Charlie’s Angels, which was picked up from Telemundo.

Montesano, for his part, is excited by the prospect of developing more original programming. Telelatino has always done some news and event programming, but a recent $300,000 grant from the Canadian Television Fund will permit the channel to attempt some more ambitious projects.

The first scheduled to air is an English-language documentary about the arrival of Italian immigrants in Canada, entitled Pier 21. TLN is also seeking further grants for a series of Hispanic-culture programs, also in English.

Montesano – who edited now-defunct Eyetalian magazine for five years before joining TLN – says such original programming is intended to capture both Italian- and Hispanic-Canadians interested in their own heritage, as well as a more mainstream audience.

Ultimately, of course, the prime motive behind all of this activity is to build the channel’s advertising base – and, in particular, to attract more national advertisers.

As a rule, Telelatino is pitched as an add-on to campaigns, says Nick Bianchi, director of advertising sales with Toronto-based Specialized Media Sales, the rep house for the network.

‘If you’re putting money on MuchMusic,’ says Bianchi, ‘why aren’t you also putting money on Graffiti [a TLN music show targeting the 16-24 age group]? If you’re putting money on TSN, why not our soccer [broadcasts]? Here’s an opportunity to get a segment that’s very similar to the [mainstream target] you’re aiming at, but that you might not be hitting through those other programs or networks.’

Some national advertisers do seem to buy the argument. Rob Young, senior vice-president, planning and research for Toronto-based Harrison, Young, Pesonen & Newell, says his media management firm has purchased TLN on behalf of clients such as Labatt Breweries of Canada and Sprint Canada. It’s an option that Young says he considers when the added reach can help a client.

Other national advertisers that buy TLN include Bell Canada and Western Union Canada. Much of the channel’s advertising revenue, however, still comes from local retailers.

Also in this report:

- Marketers overlooking youth audience: Youth ethnic Canadians retain strong ties to their cultures: So why don’t more advertisers target them in their own media? p.29

- Face of Chinese market is changing p.30

- South Asian films a hit for AMC p.30

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.