Falco and his top executives recently sat down with reporters from the Associated Press, The Miami Herald and Reuters to talk about Fusion. The sit-down came after he toured Fusion and Univisions news operation for the first time in mid-August. In a conference overlooking the shared 15,000-square-foot newsroom (which Falco thinks may be the largest in the U.S. television industry) he talked comedy, the evolving tastes in news, and while Al Jazeera faces a far steeper hill than Fusion does.
Edited excerpts from the exchange follow, with the questions provided by the three news organizations. All answers are by Falco.
Q: How many homes do you want to be in?
We want to be a fully distributed network. The short-term goal is to get into 60 million homes. That responsibility rests with ABC.
Q: Would it be fair to describe the division of labor as Univision taking the lead on the content, whereas ABC is in charge of the distribution side?
Well, yes, that is the way it has actually been laid out. Because of the expertise and knowledge of the Hispanic community in this country, obviously Univision will have editorial control. Sales and distribution will be ABCs responsibility. But we also are going to rely on ABC for their worldwide news-gathering, as well. Footage, feeds, breaking stories.
Think about it. ABC doesnt really have another outlet during the day. They dont have a cable news network. This is their cable news network. Obviously they could break into their network during the day, but those break-ins generally dont last longer than five or ten minutes. Correspondents love to be on the air. The one way to do that is through Fusion.
We found that with NBC when we did MSNBC. The correspondents were the ones who really pushed the hardest to file stories. Thats what they do. And the only real outlet they had and they discovered that quickly was on MSNBC.
The same will be true for us. You wont want to necessarily break in for longer than five or 10 minutes on a big story on Univision. But you can tell the audience if they want to follow something it will be a little more difficult from Spanish to English, but at least there will always be another place to go.
Q: What is the focus of the content?
The focus is through the eyes of Hispanics in the United States. Its not that you ignore stories that English language viewers would enjoy. Were certainly not looking to exclude anybody. But we are going to have a very special point of view from the eyes of the Hispanics in this country.
Q: Who are your competitors?
There arent that many competitors yet in English. Though I think a lot of the English language services will tell you theyre beginning to pay closer attention to the Spanish point of view of their audiences. Because its growing. On the Spanish side, of course, there is Telemundo. But they dont have the size and scope of our operations. And CNN has a Spanish language service as well.
Q: I read with interest the release the other day of the hiring of the late-night producer [David Javerbaum]. It sounds like a fascinating job hes going to have. What kind of a job do you perceive for him?
We have a special point of view toward Hispanics living in this country, but also mostly young Hispanics. Remember the average age of our audience is about 20 years younger than the average age of an Anglo station.