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Miami tech conference eMerge Americas to partner with NBCUniversal, Telemundo

The IBM exhibit at eMerge Americas’ inaugural conference last May was one of many in the expo section of the conference, which also included speakers, demos, contests and parties.
The IBM exhibit at eMerge Americas’ inaugural conference last May was one of many in the expo section of the conference, which also included speakers, demos, contests and parties. MIAMI HERALD FILE

In a big move that will give more national and international exposure to Miami’s young homegrown technology conference, eMerge Americas, NBCUniversal News Group and Telemundo are expected to announce Wednesday an exclusive multi-year partnership.

NBCUniversal’s networks — including NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo — will anchor shows from the conference to their combined reach of 147 million viewers.

eMerge Americas, founded last year by technology pioneer Manny Medina to help develop a technology hub for the Americas in Miami, returns to the Miami Beach Convention Center in early May. The second annual conference on May 4-5 will feature keynote speakers, an expo showcasing the latest technologies, country pavilions, a startup showcase, Government Innovation Summit and a Women, Innovation and Technology (WIT) summit. Organizers this year have a goal of 10,000 attendees, up from last year’s 6,000.

The new broadcast partnership will help catapult eMerge Miami onto the world stage — a key element as eMerge seeks to showcase South Florida as an emerging technology center. Under the three-year partnership, NBCUniversal’s television networks will create a set for live shows and interviews, and NBCUniversal executives will be involved in the content planning.

“It’s like a great shot of steroids,” said Medina, who also heads Medina Capital and founded and ran Terremark Worldwide. “This is going to accelerate what we thought would take a number of years. Think about it: All of a sudden we’ll have a reach of 147 million people.”

For NBCUniversal, the partnership cements the network’s connections with the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic market.

“The 56 million Latinos who live in the U.S. represent 18 percent of the population,” said Joe Uva, chairman of Hispanic Enterprises and Content for NBCUniversal. “They are technically savvy, they are socially connected, they are early adopters, and their buying power is in excess of a trillion dollars, which makes them the 14th-largest consumer economy if they were a stand-alone country. Our platforms reach 90 percent of all U.S. Hispanics every month.”

Medina said he planned to announce the partnership Wednesday at a Beacon Council Access Breakfast. “eMerge and Miami will be talked about a lot in the context of technology and next generation innovation,” said Medina, who hopes the conference eventually will have an impact on Miami’s technology similar to the cultural changes sparked by Art Basel Miami Beach. The media deal “is exactly what we were hoping for.”

Under the arrangement, select NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo programs will broadcast live from eMerge Americas and the programs as well as NBCUniversal’s digital platforms will have exclusive interviews with high-profile conference speakers and attendees and cover topics and trends throughout the five-day event that will kick off with a hackathon and party and culminate with the conference. “We will be working collaboratively on our content, including speakers, panels and keynotes, as well as content for them to put on air. … This will be transformative for eMerge but also for the ecosystem because NBCUniversal has seen a big opportunity in Miami as a hub for the Americas and that is what they are betting on,” said Xavier Gonzalez, executive director of eMerge Americas.

Said Uva, “We look forward to helping eMerge make this even more successful than it was in its first year. We think eMerge Americas is going to eventually be a bigger and more important event than [Austin’s] South by Southwest. … And given the fact that our Telemundo regional networks reach throughout Latin America, it is a natural fit for us.”

The first eMerge Americas conference, hosted in May 2014, attracted about 6,000 attendees, 400 companies, 150 speakers and 115 startups from Miami and across the globe. Knight Foundation, Miami-Dade County, Greenberg Traurig and Medina Capital are among the founding sponsors. Speakers already confirmed for this year’s event include physician and author Deepak Chopra and Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square; tickets are now on sale at emergeamericas.org.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

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