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Zach Horowitz sees an “immense” opportunity in a new podcast company for Latin American listeners

The esteemed former CEO of Universal Music Group, Zach Horowitz, co-founded Pitaya Entertainment, a new podcast company dedicated to producing content for US Latinos. He sees similarities with the potential in the Latin American music market that he unlocked during his time in the US music business.

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Pitaya kicks off with five series presented by hugely popular Latino personalities from the fields of television, comedy, modeling and influencers, including Giselle Blondet, José Eduardo Derbez, Alejandra Espinoza, Ana Patrica, Joanna Hausmann, Jenny Lorenzo and Jomari Goyso.

Over 100 million Americans listen to at least one podcast every week (twice as many as five years ago) and U.S. podcast ad revenue is expected to top £ 1 billion for the first time in 2021.

Latinos, however, lag well behind the US average. Recent surveys have shown that 55% have not tried a podcast and 38% are unfamiliar with the format.

Horowitz believes that this is fertile ground for growth. And since he’s widely recognized as an Anglo manager who advocated Latin American music prior to its global explosion (Horowitz initially founded UMG’s Latin American division), historical comparisons are not lost on him.

Horowitz told MBW, “Spotify has spent nearly $ 1 billion buying podcast companies in the past few years and expects podcasts to account for 20% of all listening on Spotify. Amazon Music recently added podcasts to its service and just spent over $ 300 million on the purchase of Wondery, a podcast creator.

“Last year Sirius bought XM Stitcher / Midroll, two podcast companies, for over $ 300 million. iHeart bought Stuff Media, another podcast creator, for $ 55 million. Sony Music has set up its own podcast company. “

“The opportunity is immense when you consider that one in five people in the US is Latino and one in four under 25s. That’s a potential audience of 60 million with a purchasing power of $ 1.5 trillion. ”

After taking on the role of COO of Universal Music Group in 1994 and later adding President to his title, Horowitz oversaw significant investments in Latin music for most of the next two decades. From 2012 to 2014 he headed the Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) worldwide.

Horowitz told MBW, “Despite all this dramatic growth and activity [in Latin music]The US Latino podcast audience is underserved and underdeveloped, and Latino voices are severely underrepresented on podcasts. Pitaya Entertainment wants to change that.

“We’re 100% dedicated to developing and producing podcasts for, by, and about Latinos – and then implement new and exciting ways to penetrate the community with their programs. The chance is immense considering that one in five people in the US is Latino and one in four is under 25. That’s a potential audience of 60 million with a purchasing power of $ 1.5 trillion. “

“When I became COO for the first time [of MCA/Universal] In 1994 we weren’t even present in Latin American music. I made the genre a personal and business priority – and we moved from zero to being the US leader. “

Horowitz added, “It was the same kind of potential opportunity that I saw as President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Music Group when I decided that the company would get into the Latin music business in the United States.

“Latin music made up a small percentage of all US music sales at the time. Even so, I believed that the dramatic demographic change with the rapid growth and influence of the Latino population made it crucial.

“When I first became COO in 1994, we weren’t even present in Latin American music. I made the genre a personal and business priority – and we moved from zero to being the US leader.

“Along the way, there were doubters both inside and outside the company who said that any investment I made in Latin American music was ill-advised. But these investments proved incredibly successful.

“Latin music is so popular these days that it’s not uncommon to find Spanish-language albums that make up 20% to 25% of Billboard’s top album charts in the United States

“On the other hand, you’d have a hard time finding a Spanish-language podcast in the top 100 of the US Apple podcast charts. That is the challenge – and the opportunity – for our new company. “

The other four chief executives behind Pitaya Entertainment are Guillermo Santiso, the former head of Fonovisa Records, podcast pioneer Andy Bowers, Diana Mejia-Jones, a top marketing, advertising and branded entertainment expert in Latina, and award-winning producer Jordi Oliveres.Music business worldwide

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