Feb 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Telemundo's push to boost the Latino vote in 2020

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises

Telemundo will announce on Tuesday the launch of a multi-million dollar voter initiative aimed at Latinos called “DECISIÓN 2020," executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: "This is a big moment for the Hispanic community," says Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. "For the first time, Latinos will be the largest ethnic voting block this election, making up 13-14% of all eligible voters."

Details: The effort includes the launch of a new network news broadcast every weekday, new digital shows designed to target young Latino viewers, more Sunday public affairs shows in local Telemundo markets, polls about the Latino vote and voter registration events and nationwide town halls.

  • Conde says the success of the effort will be measured by "the number of voices heard, and the amount of participation at national and local levels."
  • The investment will be spread across additional polling, hiring of more multimedia journalists at the national and local level to produce election content, voter registration events, shows and the launch of its new network newscast at 11:35 p.m. each weekday.
  • Its new half-hour weekly newscast will add 130 hours of news content per year.
  • The new polling investment, at the local and national levels, will focus on the Latino electorate ahead of Election Day. Some polls will highlight details about the Latino vote in key states ahead of caucuses or primaries.
  • The effort is being co-led by the company's marketing, community affairs and editorial teams. "It's a multi-functional initiative," says Conde.

The big picture: Telemundo isn't the only group to spend many millions on voter registration efforts. It's part of a bigger wave of media and tech companies pushing robust voter registration and election engagement efforts.

  • MTV and its parent Viacom, now ViacomCBS, have for years focused efforts on youth voter turnout through programming and on-the-ground registration partnerships.
  • This year so far, MTV has introduced its 2020 voter initiative called “+1 the Vote" which integrates voter engagement messages into its programming and adds new polling stations at college campuses.

Be smart: 2018 saw the highest midterm turnout in a century, thanks in part to new efforts by media companies and social media companies pushing young voters to register and get to the polls.

  • Snapchat helped more than 400,000 users register to vote in less than a month during the 2018 midterm elections. It's planning to do further voter engagement this cycle.
  • Facebook and Twitter also teamed up with TurboVote to drive users to polls. TurboVote reportedly couldn't handle the volume of referrals.

Our thought bubble: I asked Jay Rosen, a prominent media critic and NYU media professor, whether media companies should be investing in voter participation efforts. He pointed me to a blog post he wrote after the 2016 election:

  • "Democracy is not a spectator sport. The more people who participate in the system the stronger it is. Journalists can safely advocate that people go out and vote."

What's next: Noticias Telemundo senior correspondent Vanessa Hauc will join NBC News and MSNBC talent on stage to moderate Wednesday's debate in Nevada.

  • Earlier this year, Telemundo became the first Hispanic media network to co-host the first debate of the election cycle alongside sister networks NBC and MSNBC.
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