"We have the privilege of being able to work with many brands in Mexico, and luckily, each year there are more and more brands that we are adding to our portfolio of partners," said Miguel Cárdenas, general director of Discovery Mexico at #PRODUprimetime with Ríchard Izarra
"Today I have the pleasure of being with one of the leaders of the Mexican market at the command of a company with one of the most powerful brands in the region and the world, for its credibility, respect, and prestige. Under his command, the company has surpassed its goals in the market, and he has created innovative tools that have attracted brands. He is the engineer Miguel Cárdenas, CEO of Discovery Mexico, born in Texas, of Mexican parents. A true Chicano," said Ríchard when introducing him.
"An engineer by accident, with passion for numbers and analysis. Later with a master's degree, and passionate about content, business, and this interesting industry that we have," Miguel replied.
One of those innovative tools has been Video+, an Ad Sales strategy, where they integrate what they have in the premium video for their clients. Miguel explained it like this:
"What advertisers and agencies were looking for, in many cases, was premium video inventory at scale, to be able to communicate with their audiences, recognizing that today they consume linear, digital, mobile, a lot of different media. They want to be present in all. Today the challenge is that there are very few premium places where advertising can be delivered. Most OTT services by subscription do not allow advertising, and those that are not by subscription, most of the time are not premium or do not have enough scale. So in Video+, basically what we did was take all the different premium inventory video assets, generated on all our own platforms, channels, social networks, external, and put them together. And so we offered the advertiser a product with scale so that they can connect with audiences within our content, in a unified and simplified way. We make sure it is transparent and simple, regardless of the platform".
When asked how he saw the current Mexican market with this production boom, he explained: "The Mexican market, apart from being one of the largest in the production of any type of audiovisual content in the Spanish language, was very controlled by a couple of air networks and a few production houses. But it has experienced a boom and now there is wealth. It is finally harnessing the talent that exists in the market, including talents, stories, storytellers, locations. It is an important market in local video content products, which work incredibly well around the world. It is a market that favors the producer, the content creator, and there are many opportunities because there is hunger and a lot of thirst for that kind of thing."
On local content, he said: "Now there is a lot of talk about hyperlocal content, and that the strength in media services is in local content. I think Discovery knew it for many years. We were pioneers in recognizing that most of the content travels all over the world. Something that is interesting for someone in Mexico can also be incredibly interesting for someone in Spain but in Japan. It is very important that the product feels that it is speaking to the local audience to gain relevance; we have to tell local stories that identify with the audience and with the people. Now the great OTT players do it too. For us, it has been one of our keys, one of our pillars of the success of our brands, and we will continue to do so. more and more, because we know it works. It is a proven formula, and there are incredible stories in Mexico to tell all of Mexico, but also to tell the rest of the world. We had success 8-10 years ago leading programs produced in Mexico, by Mexican talents, which were broadcast in the US, Spain, Japan, Italy. It's something that has worked well for us.”
RI: Miguel, in the co-production you have led the way, been pioneers. Will this continue? Can you tell us something about projects in this market?
MC: "Yes, we have been pioneers in co-productions. If what matters is content, variety, and quality, co-producing is what allows you to reduce the cost and increase the reach of the same content. We try, from the beginning, to work with others media, air television stations, and at first, it was difficult, they were not very open. The ecosystem in general did not have that habit, nor did it necessarily see co-productions in a positive way. But today, it is the way things are done. It is super practical. We have done projects in Mexico with Televisa, Multimedios, even with production houses, with digital platforms and I think they have been very successful. In other markets such as Brazil, in the southern cone, we have also done it with main television stations in the region, and I think it is important that we continue to do so, although the type of partners is changing. Before we had the big air channels, pay channels, and that was it. Then came digital forms, OTTs. There is a richness of partners we can work with; the challenge is to align the objectives so that everyone can benefit from the productions."
RI: And Discovery Kids, any plans?
MC: "Discovery Kids has always been a very special brand for us, mainly because Discovery Kids is a product of Latin America. It is a brand that was born and exists mainly here. It really comes from the vision that if we are a company with the values that we have, of satisfying curiosity and presenting the world to people, we should do it since they are children, when they are so impersonal, when they are so exposed to shape their way of seeing the world. Discovery Kids, like children, are changing. Their consumption habits are evolving and probably faster than that of adults. We will soon be announcing new productions, both own and co-produced, with partners in another part of the world, for our audiences in Latin America. We will also continue to redouble our efforts on platforms. where the children are today. In Discovery Kids you can trust that children do not have access to anything that is not something constructive for the way to see the world."
Regarding remote work, Miguel pointed out: "Incredible, but Discovery, a little before we were caught in lockdown by the pandemic, we were just doing a test, testing systems and capabilities, to see if we could respond so that the whole company could, at the same time, work remotely. It was actually a week, a few days before the lockdown. And since then, I have been working at home. As a company in general, we are all working from home. I am not going to say It was easy. What has been amazing is the way people have responded to that sudden change: from working at the office every day to working at home every day. Not only we didn’t experience loss of productivity, but there was a significant acceleration due to the way things changed during the pandemic. Today the Discovery Mexico workforce, and in all parts of the world, is still remote, we are all still in casa. Offices are about to open, but for now, we continue remotely. There are some roles with key functions that have to be physically in the office, but most of us are working remotely and I think like everyone else, trying to find the best way to deal with this personal-work balance that we are seeing because we are connected all the time".
To conclude, Miguel stressed: "These are incredible moments for this industry. It is full of opportunities, some that we already know and that we are trying to take advantage of; there are still others that we have not seen yet. But there are visionaries in Latin America, without a doubt, right now thinking and generating ideas. Both in Discovery, as I think in the rest of the industry, we are very open. I would invite, to be part of this industry, but be an active, proactive part, to seek how we continue to evolve and change this business. I believe that it's an excellent time."
He addressed other topics such as OTT, globalization, changes due to the pandemic, the sense of urgency, the distribution ecosystem ...
View the interview here