Friday, March 4, 2011

COD: Butaca.TV – the free online theater seat for movies and video en Espanol

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first.

Online is a great way to reach and engage Latinos in the US. But not enough brands recognize the opportunity. According to a 2010 study by Pew Internet, English speaking Latinos have similar web usage patterns to Anglos, while foreign born and Spanish dominant Latinos tend to use the web less. But Latinos LEAD Anglos on digital consumption through devices other than a PC. For example, (list lifted from Pew) Hispanics are far more likely than Anglos to do the following through their cellphones:

Text message
Use social networking site
Use the internet
Record and watch videos
Make a charitable donation via text message Use email
Play games
Listen to music
Use instant messaging
Post multimedia content online

In digital video, Latinos that always or sometimes prefer content in Spanish tend to be poorly served. That’s in part because Spanish TV networks haven’t been as active as their Anglo counterparts in making premium long form content available on demand.

A bootstrapped LA-based start-up called Veranda Entertainment has created a digital platform called Butaca to step into this void and offer movies, shows, documentaries, and lifestyle content in Spanish with a free-to-the-viewer advertising supported model. Butaca (the name means theater seat in Spanish) content falls into one of ten genres including Action, Drama, Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Horror/Terror, Children’s, Fantasy, Documentary, and Lifestyle. Videos range from full length movies to shorts.

Anyone who has watched Univision or Telemundo for even a few minutes probably recognizes that Spanish language content comes from a broad range of countries. Butaca’s collection currently offers videos from the US, Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain and Portugal

While the offering is currently focused on the PC-based Internet, their vision is to offer a multiscreen platform across computers, smartphones, and connected television, to create the same sort of platform- neutral content options that exist in greater and greater numbers for Anglos. To achieve this, they are currently developing apps for mobile devices and wired TVs. They are working with Sony, Google TV, Samsung, and others to create that frictionless video platform.

One of the persistent misconceptions about the Latino market is that ALL Hispanics want ALL content in Spanish ALL the time. In reality, the American Latino “world” isn’t binary – Spanish only speakers versus English only speakers) but rather people’s preferences and language abilities vary by individual. Butaca content is in Spanish, Portuguese, and English and the site offers the choice of Spanish or English navigation.

They also have partnerships with YouTube and Impremedia’s Hispanic news properties for those who prefer to use those platforms. If you're not familiar with Impremedia, they own some of the largest Spanish language newspapers and associated websites in America, including El Diario La Prensa.

In sum they are delivering about 4 million vid views a month. There are English and Spanish language ads running on the site. Butaca offers a range of ad options, from pre-roll/mid-roll/post-roll to overlays, page wraps and more. The quantity of ads in a given video or flick is quite reasonable, giving advertisers the opportunity to stand out.

The site currently offers several hundred full length films, plus a bunch of other types of content. Most fall into the Classic category. Clearly their vision is to grow that library and lead in the digital video space.

I am happy to get to do my little bit to promote a bootstrapped concern solving a real content problem for America’s fastest growing population!

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