Telemundo is a North American Spanish-language terrestrial television network owned by Comcast through NBCUniversal. It is the second-largest provider of Spanish-language content nationally behind fellow U.S. competitor Univision, with programming syndicated worldwide to more than 100 countries in over 35 languages.
The channel broadcasts programs and original content aimed at Latin American audiences in the United States and worldwide, consisting of telenovelas, sports, reality television, news programming and films either imported or Spanish-dubbed.
In addition, Telemundo operates NBC Universo, a separate channel directed towards young Hispanic audiences; Telemundo Digital Media, which distributes original programming content across mass media, the Telemundo and NBC Universo websites; Puerto Rico free-to-air station WKAQ-TV; and international distribution arm Telemundo Internacional.
Telemundo is headquartered in Miami and operates a studio and productions facility in the Miami suburb of Beacon Lakes, and has 1,900 employees worldwide. The majority of Telemundo’s programs are filmed at an operated studio facility in Miami, where 85% of the network’s telenovelas were filmed during 2011. The average hourly primetime drama costs $70K to produce.
Telemundo History was officially launched as NetSpan in 1984, the network was renamed Telemundo in 1987, after the network owners purchased the previous owner of WKAQ-TV (channel 2), a television station in San Juan, Puerto Rico, branded on air as Telemundo. WKAQ-TV was signed on on March 28, 1954, and was originally founded by Ángel Ramos owner of Puerto Rico’s main newspaper at the time, El Mundo, and the U.S. territory’s first radio station, WKAQ (also known as “Radio El Mundo”).
Ramos wanted to maintain a consistent branding for his media properties based around the “mundo” theme (the Spanish word for “world”), and chose to brand his new television property as “Telemundo” (in effect, translating to “Teleworld” or “World TV”). On April 14, 1983, Ramos sold WKAQ-TV to John Blair & Co.
Telemundo as Netspan
the owners of WNJU (channel 47) in Linden, New Jersey (serving the New York City area) and KSTS (channel 48) in San Jose, California formed NetSpan, the second Spanish-language television network in the continental United States (behind the longer-established Spanish International Network, the forerunner to Univision).
These stations joined KVEA (channel 52) in Los Angeles, run by its general manager and part-owner Joe Wallach, in 1985. The following year, KVEA’s part-owner, Reliance Group Holdings, acquired the Telemundo brand when it purchased John Blair & Co., which also owned WSCV (channel 51) in Fort Lauderdale–Miami-West Palm Beach in addition to WKAQ-TV. In late 1986, Reliance also purchased WNJU. In 1987, Reliance Capital Group executives Saul Steinberg and Henry Silverman merged all these stations into the Telemundo Group. The new corporation quickly went public, and in 1987, Reliance decided to rebrand NetSpan as Telemundo. Later that year, it purchased additional stations in San Francisco, Houston (KTMD, channel 47) and San Antonio (KVDA, channel 60).
In 2010, Comcast announced that it would acquire a 51% majority stake in NBC Universal for $6.5 billion; the deal was completed on January 28, 2011, with Comcast acquiring control of Telemundo as part of the deal. In October 2011, Emilio Romano was appointed as president of Telemundo, a role he would handle until his abrupt resignation from the network in October 2013.
On May 14, 2012, Telemundo announced that it would launch a new branding campaign that would include the debut of a new slogan and on-air identity, including the replacement of its framed “T” logo (a variant of the 1992-era design that had been introduced by the network in 1999), with a new logo featuring two partial red spheres forming the “T”, described to “capture the duality of Telemundo’s audience, balancing the strong connection to their Latin roots with their contemporary mindset of living in the U.S.”
The new logo and graphics package debuted on-air on December 8 of that year. Telemundo achieved ratings success during 2012, with the telenovela series Rosa Diamante (“Diamond Rose”; a remake of Enrique Torres’ Perla Negra) and the Caracol TV-produced Pablo Escobar. That year, Telemundo debuted the “social novela” Secreteando on Facebook, with comments made on other social media websites.
During the 2000s, Univision also lost several key on-air personalities to Telemundo, including longtime weekend news anchor María Antonieta Collins (who left to host the morning program Cada Dia), Primer Impacto anchor María Celeste Arrarás (who became the host of a similarly formatted newsmagazine, Al Rojo Vivo) and sports announcers Andrés Cantor (known to many Americans for his exuberant announcement of “Goal!” during football matches) and Norberto Longo.
By the middle of the decade, Univision overtook UPN and The WB which shut down in September 2006 and were replaced by The CW, which Univision also outranks as the fifth highest-rated network in total viewership; since then, it also sometimes posts higher viewership in the key age demographics of Adults 18–34 and Adults 18–49.
These programs helped Telemundo decrease its ratings gap in the key demographic of Adults 18–49, decreasing the gap between the two networks by 54% between 2010 and 2015, with Telemundo even beating Univision four times during the 2014–2015 television season on nights when the former aired sports events and specials; the network also narrowed the ratings differentials with Univision in total prime time viewership from a gap of 1.2 million viewers in July 2013 to 238,000 in July 2015.
Telemundo also began improving its ratings during the 10:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) hour, following its transition from traditional novelas to the “Super Series” format, with El Señor de los Cielos posting some of the network’s highest viewership for an entertainment program, when its second-season finale in 2014 drew 3.2 million total viewers.
Telemundo network operates a news division, Noticias Telemundo (“Telemundo News”), which produces a half-hour early evening flagship newscast, Noticiero Telemundo, that has aired daily for most of its run (Telemundo also produced a secondary newscast, Noticiero Telemundo Internacional, until 2011, which aired in place of late local newscasts on affiliates without their own news department or which opted to preempt regularly scheduled local newscasts on certain holidays).
It also produces the morning news and lifestyle program Un Nuevo Día (“A New Day”), the late afternoon newsmagazine series Al Rojo Vivo con Maria Celeste (“Red Hot Live with Maria Celeste”) and the Sunday morning talk show Enfoque (“In Focus”); the network previously produced weekend editions of Al Rojo Vivo and Noticiero Telemundo until 2007, which were replaced with feature films and reality-based series; the latter returned to a daily broadcast with the restoration of Saturday and Sunday editions on September 4, 2014.
The beginnings of the news division trace back to 1987, when the network debuted its first news program Noticiero Telemundo-HBC (“Telemundo-HBC News”), through an outsourcing agreement with the Miami-based Hispanic-American Broadcasting Corporation. The following year, Telemundo outsourced news production to CNN, which produced Noticiero Telemundo CNN (“Telemundo CNN News”), consisting of two Atlanta-based daily newscasts that were anchored by Jorge Gestoso and Maria Elvira Salazar.
When Salazar accepted a position as a reporter for Noticiero Univision in Miami, Chilean former Miss Universe Cecilia Bolocco joined Gestoso on the Telemundo newscast. The final incarnation produced in Atlanta was co-anchored by Patricia Janiot. Following the sale of its cable news channel Telenoticias to CBS Cable in late 1996, Telemundo entered into a content partnership with the channel to produce early-evening and prime time newscasts that would air on the broadcast network.
Telemundo English suntitiles
Telemundo provides English subtitles via closed captioning primarily on weekdays from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, during the network’s prime time lineup. The subtitles are transmitted over the CC3 caption channel in standard definition and the CS2 caption channel available on most digital tuners in high definition.
The network produces the translations in-house, and intends them to attract Hispanic viewers who may not be fluent in Spanish as well as other non-Spanish speakers. Programs that include English captions are identified on-air by a special digital on-screen graphic seen at the start of each episode, denoting the specific caption channels in which viewers can receive subtitles in either Spanish or English (see right).
Telemundo was the first Spanish-language network in the United States to incorporate English captions during its programming, beginning with the premieres of La Cenicienta (“Cinderella”) and Amor Descarado (“Barefaced Love”) on September 8, 2003; this generated a small, loyal fan base among English-speaking viewers.
The subtitles were briefly discontinued without notice on October 14, 2008, citing budget cuts made by NBC Universal and the network’s switch from analog to digital broadcasts; representatives for Telemundo also cited the need to concentrate resources on its core Spanish-speaking audience. However, the network soon reversed its decision due to demand by viewers in favor of the English subtitles, which returned on all prime time novelas on March 30, 2009.
The use of English captions was later adopted by Univision, which began airing them on its evening programming (primarily with its weeknight telenovelas, along with select weekend prime time series) on January 30, 2012, and (in the same manner as Telemundo) transmits them over the CC3 caption channel; Azteca also transmits English language captions on certain programs.
Programs that include English-language captions during their original broadcast may also include them in repeat broadcasts airing outside of the network’s prime time schedule after the program’s original run on the network or, since 2012, as part of the network’s late-night novela repeat block. Some programs (notably the defunct long-running erotic anthology Decisiones (“Decisions”), which the network now airs only in reruns), include English captions only for certain episodes, depending on when they were produced.
Programs that use English captions are primarily consist of telenovelas, though a few shows outside the genre (such as the prime time court show Caso Cerrado: Edición Especial) are also transcribed in both languages. Availability of English subtitles is limited to the technical capacity of the local station, cable or satellite provider, or other outlet to disseminate them over the network feed.
Telemundo has 28 owned-and-operated stations, and current and pending affiliation agreements with 66 additional television stations encompassing 49 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. possession of Puerto Rico; this makes Telemundo the largest American Spanish language broadcast television network by total number of affiliates. The network has an estimated national reach of 57.23% of all households in the United States (or 178,837,113 Americans with at least one television set).
While Telemundo does not have any over-the-air stations in a few major markets with relatively sizeable populations of Hispanic and Latino residents ( most notably Cleveland, Ohio) it conversely maintains affiliations in several markets where Univision currently does not have over-the-air availability, including New Orleans (KGLA-DT), Indianapolis (WDNI-CD) Boise (KKJB) and Richmond (WZTD-LD).
Telemundo maintains affiliations with low-power stations (broadcasting either in analog or digital) in a few markets, such as Orlando (WTMO-CD), Milwaukee (WYTU-LD), Tampa (WRMD-CD), Albuquerque (KTEL-CD and its repeater K46GY) and Minneapolis (KMBD-LD). In some markets, including the former two mentioned, these stations also maintain digital simulcasts on a subchannel of a full-power television station, usually (though not in all cases) one that is owned or managed with the Telemundo outlet.
The network also maintains a sizeable number of subchannel-only affiliations, consisting of a mix of stations in cities located within and outside of the 50 largest Nielsen-designated markets; the largest Telemundo subchannel affiliate by market size is WKTB-CD in Norcross, Georgia (serving the Atlanta market), which carries the network on its second digital subchannel. In other areas of the U.S., Telemundo provides a national cable network feed that is distributed directly to cable, satellite and IPTV providers as an alternative method of distribution in markets without either the availability or the demand for a locally based owned-and-operated or affiliate station.
Currently outside of the network’s core O&O group, News-Press & Gazette Company is the largest operator of Telemundo stations by numerical total, owning or providing services to eight primary affiliates (all but one of which are simulcast on subchannels of the group’s Big Four network stations) and four additional subchannel-only affiliates).
The former ZGS Communications was the largest operator of Telemundo stations in terms of overall market reach, owning ten Telemundo-affiliated stations (including affiliates in larger markets such as Tampa, Orlando, Boston, Hartford and Washington, D.C.); after the purchase of the ZGS stations at the start of 2018 by NBC’s Telemundo Stations Group, they are now direct O&Os of the network.