The bilingual cable network will relaunch on Feb. 1 with mix of entertainment and sports offerings
NBCUniversal's bilingual cable network mun2 is re-launching with new programming, a new logo and a name change: NBC Universo.
The rebrand, which officially launches on Feb. 1, includes a new logo that's aimed to reflect NBCUniversal's "modern general entertainment cable channel for Latinos," according to Rubén Mendiola, mun2's president.
In an exclusive interview with Billboard, Mendiola said that a major arc in the rebranding of the network is to keep the familiar and build on that premise with a bigger presence among the many platforms of NBC Universal through new programming which will include music-themed shows, original series, reality programming and a strong foundation of sports offerings such as airing the exclusive Spanish-language telecast of Super Bowl XLIX.
"There's a lot of Latinos in the U.S. who grew up with the channel," Mendiola said during an interview at the network's Los Angeles offices at Universal CityWalk. "For us it was very important to preserve the DNA of the channel. It's a transformation that feels organic as the channel gets bigger."
Mendiola and his colleagues, including Joe Uva, chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content at NBCUniversal, have made it clear that sports will be a priority at the network with programming which already includes Barclays Premier League and NFL games.
NBC Universo is joining forces with NBC Sports Group and Telemundo as coverage will include four FIFA World Cup events in 2015. Additionally, the bilingual network will also exclusively air the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series and WWE programs “WWE Raw” and “WWE Smackdown” in Spanish.
The network, which only a few years ago gained traction and a bigger audience with the reality program "I Love Jenni" starring the late regional Mexican singer Jenni Rivera, will continue to build on entertainment and music programming with staple shows such as “Reventon,” featuring regional Mexican music, to reality programs like "Larrymania" starring singer Larry Hernandez and the recent debut of "A Toda Gloria" starring Latin pop star Gloria Trevi.
"We took everything that we love about mun2 and incorporated other things," Mendiola said. "One of the things that was a surprising is that the majority of people did not know that we were part of NBC. Everything that NBC represents for Latinos is really good and really big. For us it was important to make this connection that we are the Latino cable channel of the NBC portfolio."
Mendiola did not discuss financials for the rebranding efforts, but he did say that the commitment from NBCUniversal is a priority and that the new budgets are bigger than what was previously available as NBC Universo strives to be "cool, contemporary, edgy … and not to be stereotypical," the executive said. He adds that the L.A. offices are being relocated to Miami in an effort to better utilize resources there with some staff moving and others finding other work within the NBCUniversal family.
Programming details will be unveiled during the network's upfront presentations in January, a month before the new network premiers with a major marketing campaign introducing NBC Universo.