Intersecting Media & Platforms: Q&A with Peter Blacker

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I recently had the chance to talk with Peter Blacker, the Executive Vice President of Digital Media & Emerging Business for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. We talked about the initiative Telemundo and COPA90 are doing for the 2018 World Cup, as well as the direction of the company and his biggest takeaway from Telemundo so far.

Peter, tell us more about the Telemundo initiative with COPA90. What’s it all about?

It’s a great initiative that hasn’t been done before. Telemundo has a long-standing relationship with World Cup and together with COPA90, we’re launching a unique opportunity for fans who want to create content. We started in February and have reached 12M fans in the US, with a focus on the Hispanic population who can produce bilingual content. Real soccer fans create content about their favorite teams – it will build excitement around the games and that’s a key part of the equation.  Viewers can see real people being passionate about their teams.  It has been a huge social and digital presence from the get-go, with hundreds of hours of content available through social platforms.

Have you seen any of the content so far? How is it different from other promotional videos?

Yes. You can tell that the content is made by fans of soccer. When we looked at the content fans are making, they are so passionate about COPA90. Not just about the 90 minutes of play – it’s about what you wear, how you get there, the rituals before and after the game – all of it. The entire experience. And that makes it different from other promos. The most important thing is the heart of these fans.

This kind of coverage hasn’t been brought to the US before, so we wanted to let this new concept grow. Soccer is influential to the Hispanic population in the US and it drives a lot of passion. This initiative lets regular fans become major content creators. There will be a show on Telemundo after matches wrap up that will showcase the 24 social influencers. It can appeal to different markets, too.

We also saw a big opportunity this year as about 12 of the 24 finalists are women. We want to include the Women’s World Cup next summer.

What was the criteria for becoming a social influencer?

They did training in Europe. COPA90 is a great company and with them we made good characteristics to look for. The different qualities and capabilities that different content creators had. How do they generate excitement? Did people comment on their content? Was there deep and real conversation? That was used as criteria for phase I to go through hundreds of applications.  Then, if they passed to the next phase, there was a small committee that looked at applicants to find the natural fit.

Can you tell me more about your position at NBCUniversal?

I started as the Senior VP of Digital Media at Telemundo 14 years ago. At that time, my focus was all about the internet website – amplifying things on the website. Over the years, we have been in a place of deep understanding of digital and social media, which has been very successful. We’ve had a growing fan base. It has been a lot of fun.

Now, I get to do so much. We can work with brands beyond Telemundo. We do E Entertainment, working on Award specials and with a music team in LA. We have a partnership with Fandango, focusing on the Hispanic movie-watching audience. Then, there’s also the sports division on World Cup and Olympics coverage. My role is to amplify and expand the fanbase of Telemundo. I also run both the digital and social media for Telemundo Enterprises, so I get to touch a lot of dynamic work.

Something else I started handling is about leveraging new facilities. Telemundo is opening a new studio in April. It’ll be 500,000 square feet for us to move our programming to. We’ll have our business and creative teams under one roof and can invite other media companies to produce digital and social content together.

How big is your team right now?

Direct to indirect 100-150 people

Is there any recent project you’ve done and considered a success?  

I’ve been working with YouTube which has been exciting. We have been working closely and partner with them to collaborate with their top influencers.  The Hispanic population loves YouTube, so it’s a great fit.

We work with the head of YouTube’s business and their business unit, YouTube Lighthouse. It has been a good experience and exercise in listening to our global audience. We’ve found what format they want, the type of content. They have 3 channels that are about to hit 3M subscribers, which is a success.

Is there any takeaway you want to share with the readers?

We are in a unique time for the media landscape. Multiculturalism and multiplatform are intersecting right now. We travel to different markets like Texas, Arizona, etc. and we see the depth of comfort of most traditional tv viewers, but multiplatform is much deeper in most markets. The growth comes from multi-cultural spending culture – it has allowed the market to expand as the population gets more diverse. That means more depth of how consumers are consuming. How come most companies aren’t looking at it?

We need to be the one-stop-shop.  We can do this by using different metrics, not treating everything the same. There may be multi-cultural divisions, but it doesn’t touch on multiplatform. And they’re not touching right now. We help you bridge those two things and let the worlds collide. That needs to be the direction of media.

That’s a great perspective, Peter. Thank you for chatting with me today. I have one last question, just for fun. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is the one gadget you couldn’t live without?

My mobile phone. I wish there is a solar-powered battery to help power this phone!

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