News Column

A Hispanic Men's Network: HombreTV's CEO Speaks

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We recently had the opportunity to speak with Dennis N. Richard, CEO and founder of HombreTV.com, a broadband bilingual platform for Hispanic men. Mr. Richard has been involved in the television industry for more than 20 years; he was the executive producer of "The Premium Dollar Today," a television series focusing on insurance issues for consumers, and the creator and executive Producer of "Lawyers And The Law," a television series about lawyers and the legal system. He was the founder of The Insurance Broadcast System, a direct broadcast television network to the financial services industry, and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Q. How did the idea for HombreTV come about?

A. There is no programming source or home for Hispanic men and HombreTV was developed to serve that need. Hispanics are a dynamically growing population and a very underserved demo that is in need of culturally-relevant programming. The motto for HombreTV programming is, "Programming with Pride." We found nothing that speaks directly to Hispanic men the way HombreTV does.

Our goal is to create an actual television network on the Internet. We feel that HombreTV is a "big idea" and something that is deserving of the look and feel of a network, and not just the look and feel of a website.

Q. Are there any studies supporting the assertion that Hispanic men are an underserved demo?

We have looked and found no third-party studies that have specifically gauged the fact that Hispanic men are an underserved audience. However, we have conducted over the last four years numerous fact-finding sessions with Hispanic men all with backgrounds from different Latin American countries, as well as here in the United States, and found that they are indeed unhappy about programming that is directed to them. We must remember that Spanish language television programming, and Spanish language websites for the most part skew females. We have also visited numerous websites and found no real source for male oriented programming. It is from this that we are very much convinced that HombreTV programming will find its way directly to Hispanic men. What I truly believe sets us apart from any other Spanish language media group is the fact that we continually go to Hispanic men (our targeted audience) and ask them the following question: "If you had your own network, what kind of programming would you like to see on it?" They usually respond to us by saying, "You're the first one who ever asked me that. I'm usually being told by the networks what to watch and what's on their networks is of little interest to me." We are continually searching and evaluating data about the needs likes and dislikes of Hispanic men when it comes to programming. They are the best source of culturally-relevant programming ideas for us and we intend to make them a big part of our programming strategy. I am always being asked my Hispanic men, "Do you really understand how big HombreTV is going to be?"

Q. What are the challenges to broadcasting TV shows on the Internet? What are the advantages?

A. Challenges are not to be minimized, but barrier to entry is significantly less than cable. This highlights the advantage -- ease of entry. The challenge is to accurately program culturally-relevant programming and to create awareness. As you know, programming on the Internet is not as long as programming on television. The majority of programming on HombreTV.com will be in the one to four minute range, with event programming like boxing and mixed martial arts and comedy and concerts being much longer. You must remember that the Hispanic demo on the Internet is young and bi-lingual, which means HombreTV will be in Spanish and in English.

Please note that we have had numerous conversations with cable operators and the idea of an all-male cable network for Hispanic men is of interest to them. There is no other HombreTV out there in the market place and our programming stands unique.

Q. What types of programs will HombreTV broadcast? Will you produce the majority of your own programming?

A. The majority of programming will be original and will center around culturally-relevant topics that are of interest to Latino men. HombreTV will entertain and at the same time offer thought-provoking programming that will help Latino men assimilate into the culture in the U.S. Programming will feature a unique blend of exclusive boxing and mixed-martial arts events, how-to shows, reality shows, behind the scenes programs, comedy, concerts, interviews and contests. HombreTV is also building a social networking component so Latino men from all over the world can network at HombreTV.com.

Hispanic men have a great need for programming that is unique to their needs and concerns. HombreTV will be there for them.

Q. How have advertisers initially responded to HombreTV?

A. Since the launch of HombreTV.com, we have been approached by a number of advertisers/sponsors who are very interested in this demo, and are having trouble reaching Latino men since the majority of programming that is out there skews female. We are also in conversations with sponsors who are looking to sponsor entire events on HombreTV.

Q. What is the goal of HombreTV's online audience in the first year, in terms of monthly page views and unique visitors?

A. Our goal is to drive as much traffic to the HombreTV.com as possible in the first year, which would give us the opportunity to further brand our image and mission. We are continually refining our numbers, but can only say at this point in time, as many unique visitors as possible. We have specific numbers that are tied in to our projections. We are creating a strong destination point for hombres and delivering to our advertisers the Hispanic male demo they have been trying to reach.

Q. How do you plan to drive audience to the website?

A For the most part, virally, and then through tied-in efforts with sponsors and advertisers, and in essentially making the best possible programming for a demo that is very underserved. Word will travel among hombres that there is a unique programming source that speaks to their needs and concerns.

Q. How do you see the Latin American market? Do you expect to target Latin American online visitors to watch HombreTV?

A. The Latin Market is complex, since it is made up of Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorians, Dominicans and so on. The HombreTV challenge will be how to program fairly to Hispanic men of different countries and cultures, and to essentially end up with a destination point where we will touch a nerve for all Hispanic men. We feel strongly that HombreTV will accomplish this task, since essentially, men are men and do share a great deal of common interests.

We do of course expect to target American online visitors to watch HombreTV.com. We also feel that Anglo men may have an interest in watching HombreTV as well, since the network is bilingual and as men they share some common interests.

Q. Are there any competing sites to HombreTV? Who do you see as your main competitors?

A. We have never seen another programming group that targets Hispanic men with the same kind of zeal, concern, truthfulness and interest as HombreTV does.

Q. Any new products or initiatives planned for the future that you can share with us?

A. Our initiatives will be in programming, programming and programming. As our network evolves and reaches out and grows, we will continually monitor our programming in response to viewer ideas and concerns. The better the quality of HombreTV programming, the greater the nerve we will touch and thus the greater the success off HombreTV.

We feel strongly that HombreTV programming stands tall in the world of bilingual Spanish programming. We are sending our programming directly into the hearts of Hispanic men. We want them to be entertained, to learn and to come back often and enjoy. "HombreTV es un movimento de Hombres" whose time has come.

Q. Will HombreTV be targeted to first generation Hispanic males?

HombreTV will be targeted to younger bi-lingual males which will include first and second generation.

Q. What are your financial needs and how is the process of raising capital planned?

The financial needs of HombreTV are directed towards the growth of our content, further website development and branding, branding, branding. Along with our financial advisors, the Cameron Thomson Group, we are raising up to $6 million in first-round financing.

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