Insights were collected from Hernán’s Interview with Justin Benjamin, Head of Global Marketing at AdsWizz from the AdsWizz-Simplecast Studio at Podcast Movement 2023.
From Visual to Audio: Meet Hernán García
Hernán García is the Director of Podcast Development at TelevisaUnivision’s audio brand, Uforia – that means all their radio streams and events, live music and events, and of course, podcasts. His move to audio came after a long career in executive production and creative development for Spanish-language media at places such as National Geographic with Disney and Fox, Discovery, and LiveNation. At Uforia, he’s produced podcasts like En boca cerrada, the highest-ranking Spanish-language podcast in the U.S., and Crímenes Paranormales.
The Advice Garcia Would Give Himself Five Years Ago
Get into podcasts earlier to have more time to learn the ropes about this challenging medium.
“I come from a background of doing creative for TV for a long, long time. My thought process was: if I did thirty, forty, sixty-minute documentaries and reality shows and whatnot, [then] doing a podcast is going to be easy because you don't have to take care of the video…Nothing is farther from the truth”
García has learned the particular challenge that comes with storytelling in an audio-first medium, where “the real lift is in designing the sound and the storytelling, where you don’t see what’s happening, but I need to make you feel like you’re a part of it.” And now he can help shape Uforia’s approach to respect the art and work that goes into audio, for a creator group that has trouble “cutting through the noise”.
Cracking the Code: Challenges and Opportunities in Serving the Hispanic Audience
The Hispanic audience in the U.S. is a bit of a conundrum: it’s a large niche and a specialized market. García noted that there isn’t a lot of content serving that Spanish-speaking Hispanic audience, though there are a lot of content creators who aren’t getting noticed.
“I think if we fragment the whole industry, we're trying to boil the ocean, and nobody's going to do it on their own,” he explained. “But if we partner up… We're looking for creators, we're looking for podcasters, small and medium networks – if you think your brand resonates with Univision Uforia audience, hit us up!”
García highlights what many of the panels at the recent past Podcast Movement 2023 were dealing with, the current biggest twin problem in the podcast industry: promotion and monetization. Uforia focuses on supporting those areas specifically because they do it well.
Streamlining Success: Uforia's Podcasting Evolution with AdsWizz and Simplecast
Two years ago, when TelevisaUnivision started leaning into their podcast capabilities, the podcasts on offer at Uforia were essentially just an exact four-hour recording every day of their radio shows, including station IDs, and radio ad breaks. This is an extremely common practice for radio and, considering García’s earlier observation about the challenges in audio storytelling plus the market expectations for podcasts, TelevisaUnivision recognized the interest in bringing in a new team. The first year, García and his team grew Uforia’s shows from 400,000 downloads a month to over 2 million just by tailoring content and bringing it up to industry standards.
Part of the process of raising their podcasts up to industry standard was consolidating all aspects of their podcast management in one place. They accomplished this by integrating Simplecast for content management and AdsWizz for monetization. This strategic move aimed to tackle fragmentation issues, foster improved team cooperation, and establish a seamless connection between content creation and revenue generation.
“Those first eight to ten months, I was on the phone with the development teams every other week. They really helped us tailor our growth and tailor our monetization needs to what our audience was looking like because it started growing, I mean, ten times over the first month.”
The Disconnect Between Technology and Reality
Uforia and TelevisaUnivision did some research into reasons why money put into their advertising and marketing streams weren’t hitting their target audiences as well as those for their audiences in visual media. And they found that because of tech support, Hispanic audiences in the United States are more likely to choose English as their operating system language than Spanish when they’re managing apps like Spotify and Apple.
Choosing Spanish would mean, if they had to deal with tech support, they’d have to go through a longer funnel to access a Spanish speaker simply because there tend to be fewer available than English speakers.
“So what happens,” García poses, “when you go to buy an ad on Spotify? They target the operating system first – how can I reach Hispanic audiences? Oh, well, target Spanish operating systems!”
When they tried targeting through other podcasts in Spanish, they hit the wall mentioned earlier of how much new, popular, well-known content is actively available for Hispanic Spanish speakers in the US. And when they tried to target through music, they encountered the reguetón boom problem: with the rise in popularity of artists like Bad Bunny and Maluma, that’s no longer primarily music listened to by Spanish-speakers – it’s hit mainstream, general audiences. With a note of triumph, he described their solution: “We turned around and decided that we had that audience, either on our radio stations, TV, through ViX, through our digital, through our social – we have a lot of the Hispanic audience in the US that’s Spanish-speaking and eighty percent of our growth comes through our own owned and operated platforms.”
What Uforia and TelevisaUnivision Can Provide Creator Partners
With the background they now have in monetization and promotion strategies, plus their immense market access to U.S.-based Hispanic Spanish speakers, Uforia is ready to talk business with creators. Not only monetization, promotion, and audiences, but guidance and assistance in development and navigating the podcast industry.
García noted his primary lessons for new creators or creators in early stages of their audio work: “Know your audience, know your message, know what you’re good at – do it more and keep it simple.” You have to have content that flows, he said, and it can get more complicated with time since you’ll be “working out that muscle every week, every day.”
But it goes deeper: you have to understand what you’re giving your audience and how they’re connecting with you. Uforia knows that comments on the various channels they distribute and promote their podcasts, like YouTube and social media, are crucial information as to how to tailor their offerings and what kinds of content can come next because audiences are primed.
Additionally, conferences (like Podcast Movement) offer Garcia and his team a place where they can “have deeper conversations with creators, because sometimes being part of a network [and] a larger company, we lose sight of what the creators’ struggles are. And when we try to bring them on, we don't understand: “Oh, but what if you don't have a studio at home?” It's like no, of course they don't!”
With their focus on getting insight from both research and individual creators, TelevisaUnivision’s Uforia continues to provide a secure platform and home for Spanish-speaking Hispanic podcast creators, a fragmented group that often has to swim against the tide by themselves.