U.S. Latin labels need powerful platforms to develop and promote new talent, and Telemundo can offer media that would be impossible to afford otherwise.
HOW: Warner Music Latina and Telemundo Media are launching a joint venture in which the companies will work together to identify, sign and market new and established talent. Warner will focus on music, selecting repertoire; recording, producing and promoting singles; and helping with tour planning and promotion. Telemundo will offer promotion on all of its platforms, including TV (Telemundo, mun2), online and social. The deal is described as a "true 360 platform," with Telemundo and Warner equally sharing in all revenue, including record sales, touring and sponsorships. The U.S. Latin market will be the deal's launch pad, albeit seeking to capitalize on Telemundo's international reach as a distributor of content (its soap operas are seen around the world) and Warner's music distribution platform. The first signing is singer/songwriter Gabriel Coronel, the 26-year-old Venezuelan star of the hit soap "Relaciones Peligrosas." Coronel is selecting repertoire under Warner's supervision, and will release his first album later this year.
WHY: U.S. Latin labels need powerful platforms to develop and promote new talent, and Telemundo can offer media that would be impossible to afford otherwise. By the same token, as a major producer of original content for TV, Telemundo is in the business of signing exclusive deals with talent who weren't fully exploited. "Why would we take away the rights for this talent to record and perform if we didn't have this expertise?" Telemundo Studios senior VP of production Rudy Weissenberg says. For example, there's singer/actor Jencarlos Canela, a Telemundo leading man whose musical career took off in large part thanks to the network's multiplatform support. (He's now signed to Universal Music Latino.) As for Warner, it had long looked for a media partner. Gabriela Martinez, GM of Warner Latina and senior VP of marketing for Warner Music Latin America, says the catalysts were "changes in both companies that opened up the dialogue."
WHO: In the United States, Warner Latina is the smallest of the major labels, with less than 10% of the Latin market album share. Nevertheless, it's a powerful major, and home to superstars ManÃ¡, Laura Pausini and Luis Miguel. Telemundo is the second-largest Spanish-language network in the States and the second-largest provider of Spanish-language TV content worldwide.
IF: Through the years, formal label/TV partnerships haven't fulfilled their promise in the U.S. Latin marketplace. One exception is Siente, the successful joint-venture label between Universal Music Latin Entertainment and Spanish-language media giant Venevision International. Unlike Telemundo, Venevision doesn't have its own channel in the States, nor is revenue shared across the board. By slowly testing the waters, the Warner/Telemundo pact has an opportunity to fine-tune the formula. Choosing the right artists will be key to taking full advantage of the deal. -Leila Cobo