This post is also available in / Esta entrada está disponible también en: Spanish (Español) .

During the first season of Univisión’s La Banda, the Latin American singing competition reality show demoed the first-ever hologram seen in US Spanish-language TV live and in real-time. It caught the attention of many millennials and many other televidentes (TV viewers) who watched the program all season long. As the fourth judge on the semi-final episode of the smash-hit show, Los Angeles resident Jorge Sánchez was able to appear onto the set virtually with tech provided by Hologram USA. With his virtual presence, the 22-year-old Jorge made history on Spanish-language TV thanks to Univisión and Verizon (voting partner and sponsor of the show). La Banda, created by Simon Cowell and produced by Ricky Martin, is the first show on the TV network mainly devoted to the teen audience and has opened up the network’s agenda to a new audience in many ways. To achieve this successful inaugural season, the use of technology has played a very important role in attracting young and bi-cultural Latino audience in the US.

I talked to María Harmer, Sr. Analyst for Cultural Engagement at Verizon, about how the hologram appeared in real time.

Alberto: What’s your role at Verizon and what did you do related to La Banda?

María: I am currently the Senior Analyst for the Cultural Engagement Team. Part of my job has been to fulfill on a lot of the partnerships that we have, and since I focus on the Hispanic market, I’ve been working with some of the Univisión properties such as the Latin Grammy Awards and La Banda.

A: Where did the idea for the hologram come from?

M: At the start of planning for this TV program, we started to think of ideas that would make us connect closer to our fans and give them an ultimate and unique experience. And the thought crossed our minds and we remembered how, for example, holograms have been made of Jimmy Kimmel and also of Tupac in the past, so, that was something that got stuck in our minds, and from there we start planning and seeing if the technology would work and everything like that was put in place at the time being. Hologram USA was an excellent partner with us and it has a lot of technological expertise they provided to us, their tools and experience to make this possible. Obviously, we did a lot testings the day before, and during the plannings we also went to see how this worked, because we had to ensure that the technology, everything, was there, especially for a show that is seen live. Nothing was prerecorded; it was in real-time.

A: How did the SuperFan got so many points?

M: Part of the goal of the program was Univisión launching its Univisión Conecta app (for Android and iOS) and La Banda was the first show that was on this app and part of our partnership was also to see how we could incorporate that, so we made it more like into a game of if the Super Fan engaged every week by voting, commenting, giving their opinions and ideas, the more you engaged, then more points to receive to win that chance of being the Super Fan. We, as Verizon, are very passionate about giving that ultimate experience to our fans and providing that digital access. The app, the hologram experience, everything, was just so into place. We want to provide this source of entertainment to everyone. And La Banda did nicely.

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