Inside Sofia Vergara's Multi-Million Dollar Empire

SOCIAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE

On April 15, LatinWE launched YouTube channel NuevOn.com with a $5 million advance from Google Inc., YouTube's parent company. Last year, Google announced it would partner with media companies, Hollywood producers and online-video creators to create about 100 online video "channels" involving celebrities in an effort to turn YouTube into a next-generation video provider. Procter & Gamble bought 100 percent of the inventory until 2013, says Balaguer. "Our YouTube channel has been lucrative from day one."

LatinWE owns NuevOn.com in partnership with former NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman's multimedia studio Electus, which co-produces programming of the online video channel. The lineup includes a behind-the-scenes look at Vergara's Hollywood lifestyle documented by her son, Manolo, and a reality breakdancing competition created by actor Wilmer Valderrama. But these online shows have barely generated any traffic. The biggest surprise has been Colibritany—a young Mexican portraying a girl who tapes a weekly video blog from her bedroom, sharing preparations for her quinceañera. Her video Mi Sexy Chambelán pulled a record 1 million views in less than a week and more than 8 million views in August, turning her into an online phenomenon. "We couldn't believe it. She has gotten even more views than Sofía," exclaims Balaguer. "This goes to show that what works on TV doesn't necessarily work online. We're incubating stars of the online future through YouTube."

THE FUTURE: NUEVOMALL.COM

Vergara has more than 2.7 million Twitter followers. Combined with other LatinWE stars and partners, Balaguer says they reach about 40 million fans via social media. Sensing an untapped revenue source in the making, he conceptualized a new social media platform called NuevoMall.com.

"NuevoMall.com uses every single company under LatinWE Holdings in order to generate great exclusive content to our fans through social media and also bring our advertising partners into leveraging this content and generating sales," he explains. The idea: Celebrities with a huge number of followers leverage their social media reach by making product recommendations. When a follower clicks on the link and purchases any of the pitched products, the celebrity gets affiliate fees through Nuevo Mall.

"We created a brand-new revenue stream for all talent...to monetize their social media presence," says Balaguer. "Instead of a company paying Raul de Molina $1 million to endorse them, they're paying him an affiliate fee for every product that he sells for them," he adds. "We don't need to own warehouses…do fulfillment, charge or collect monies. All we do is send the customer from our site to theirs. He buys from them, they do the fulfillment, get paid and then we get our affiliate fee." Technically, Nuevo Mall is a separate company from LatinWE, whose holding company is El Aeropuerto LLC. Balaguer is the primary investor/owner of the digital media venture, with Vergara and Robb as the other stakeholders. It also signed a strategic partnership with Univision Communications Inc. The yet-to-be launched digital platform will feature celebrities including Vergara, singer Ricardo Montaner and actor Cristián de la Fuente, as well as Univision talent.

"Univision is a perfect partner for Nuevo Mall," says Vergara. "We hope fans and advertisers enjoy this unique opportunity to celebrate our community with the trends, products and experiences that unite us all."

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