Canela Media CEO Says Speed Gives an Edge in Spanish Market: ‘Dinosaurs Cannot Move as Fast’ (Podcast)

Canela Media is only three years old, but founder and CEO Isabel Rafferty Zavala believes the company, which includes Canela TV, Canela Music, Canela News and the upcoming Canela Kids, has the edge on more established Spanish-language media companies.

“We’re rooted in innovation. I think that’s the difference. Most [digital TV] does come from entertainment, we come from the ad tech side first,” she said on this week’s episode of TheWrap’s “Tech vs. Media” podcast with host Richard Wolpert. “By creating technologies [for] the Latino community, we believe that’s the best way to compete against Univision and Telemundo.”

Rafferty Zavala believes that being a smaller company gives Canela a logistical advantage. “[By] being nimble and finding opportunities, [we are] able to move quicker in the streaming war. So speed is key. We’re really leaning heavily on that,” she said. “I can’t compete with the billions of dollars [Univision and Telemundo] are doing in production. However, we have good content, and I think innovation is a way to win. Because the dinosaurs cannot move as fast, and innovation requires quick movement.”

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Canela TV is launching 570 hours of original programming soon, with “Secretos de Villanas,” a reality series that brings together the “bad girls” of telenovelas, releasing on Oct. 20. Canela’s Chief Content Officer, Jerry Leo is one of the masterminds behind Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise and believes it could be even an even bigger reality hit.

“I think it’s going to be a huge franchise for the Latino community,” said Rafferty Zavala. “We thought it was going to be more like ‘The Real Housewives,’ but we were surprised to see that actually they created a sisterhood in a beautiful way. Instead of fighting against each other, like we’re used to seeing, it’s an incredible support group. The fans already are going crazy for it. They continue to bombard us, ‘When is it coming out? Can you bring it out early?’ So there’s this huge momentum building.”

Listen to the full episode below.

Episode highlights:

  • Isabel Rafferty Zavala breaks down the offerings from each of Canela Media’s divisions

  • Isabel Rafferty Zavala says Canela Kids “comes out of a huge need in the marketplace,” by giving Latino families, who increasingly looking to “connect with their roots,” rather than assimilate, educational programming in Spanish

  • Isabel Rafferty Zavala explains why they’re “aggressively” focusing on more original programming than the average AVOD

  • Isabel Rafferty Zavala on how Hispanics are, contrary to perceptions outside the community, are “early adopters” of technology and why mobile is so big in Mexico and Colombia

  • Isabel Rafferty Zavala says Fortune 500 companies are more likely to invest in women- and minority-owned businesses like hers than venture capitalists, who often “don’t believe the financials” she’s presenting

About “Tech vs Media”

On each episode of “Tech vs Media,” host Richard Wolpert — who has decades of technology and media experience as an executive, founder of tech companies, venture capitalist and philanthropist — and one his esteemed guests will divulge enlightening lessons and give their insightful perspective on the movers, creators, disruptors and innovations that are shaping the future of media and technology and how these industries will intertwine with one another.

New episodes of “Tech vs Media” drop weekly. Click here for all the episodes.

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