Thursday, May 29, 2014

Universal Intensifies Multicultural Commitment

Fabian Castro Promoted to Senior Vice President of Division
Vice President Talitha Watkins’ Contract Extended 

Universal Pictures today announced an intensified commitment to its multicultural marketing division by promoting Fabian Castro to oversee the department and extending Talitha Watkins’ contract.  Both executives have contributed materially to some of the studio’s recent slate of hits by developing and implementing culturally relevant outreaches that have made Universal an industry leader in multicultural marketing.   
Castro, who most recently served as vice president of multicultural marketing, will be elevated to senior vice president and will supervise the work of the multicultural division and its contributions to the films of Universal Pictures.  Watkins, who serves as vice president of multicultural marketing, has been with the department since its inception.  Under Castro’s leadership, the department is expanding their team and will escalate their presence on current and upcoming marketing campaigns to oversee a broader range of ethnic and specialty demographic groups.  The announcement was made by Universal’s co-president of marketing Michael Moses, to whom Castro reports.
Universal created the multicultural marketing group in 2010, hiring Castro to focus on Latino outreach and Watkins to concentrate on African American audiences.  Castro and Watkins work directly with the publicity, field, promotions, media, digital, creative, research and partnership divisions to customize existing and develop new strategies, marketing and outreach efforts.
“Watching Fabian grow has been one of the most exciting success stories I’ve seen in my time at Universal,” said Moses.  “Unlocking the Hispanic marketplace is a priority for every studio, and we’re proud of the gains we’ve made with Fabian’s guidance.  He has led us to implement innovative, effective campaigns that cross every marketing discipline and communicate to this segment of the audience in an authentic way.  We’re excited to deepen our commitment to multicultural marketing with the right resources to help Universal continue outpacing the pack.”
Moses added, “Talitha is a real star who’s gotten to shine with her contributions to making some of our recent films very big hits.  She is the kind of savvy marketer you want on your team.  Talitha has opened new opportunities for us to build a strong, sustainable foundation with a loyal segment of moviegoers.  With Universal’s continued commitment to building diverse slates of films, we’re happy and count ourselves lucky to have Talitha as a key strategist.” 
Castro, who has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and numerous national and regional media as an authority on marketing films to Latinos, was recently  profiled on 2013’s The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Generation list as one of the top 35 executives, ages 35 and under.  Also in 2013, Castro was featured on Variety’s Hollywood’s New Leaders list, as well as The Hollywood Reporter’s Top Young Latino Decision Maker’s list.  Castro’s innovative strategies and culturally relevant tactics have helped drive considerable Hispanic attendance and interest in Universal films including Guillermo del Toro’s surprise horror hit Mama, which had 46% Hispanic attendance when it debuted at No. 1 at the box office; Fast & Furious 6, which enjoyed a 32% Hispanic attendance during its $120 million opening weekend; Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me 2, which last summer pulled in 28% of its $150 million opening from Hispanics.  
Since joining Universal, Watkins has worked on more than 50 titles including the multicultural blockbusters Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6.  Her industry-leading efforts helped turn The Best Man Holiday ($70.5 million domestic) and Ride Along into breakout hits.  Ride Along had the largest January opening ever in 2014 and dominated the box office holding the No. 1 position for the first three weeks in release.  Watkins was recently featured in Essence Magazine’s 2014 Hollywood Hot List.
Prior to his time at Universal, Castro served as director of brand development for Hearst’s Food Network Magazine and spent eight years working for various Time Warner publications, including People en Español as their director, strategic marketing & promotions and Entertainment Weekly as their director, entertainment partnerships.  He also served as the chair of Hola@Time Inc., the Hispanic Affinity Group for Time Inc.  Castro holds a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 
Watkins came to Universal from Telepictures Productions Inc. where she served as assistant general manager responsible for overseeing operations, sales and marketing for five female-focused digital properties in the Warner Bros. portfolio including,,, and  Watkins served in several marketing positions with SiTV, the Latino and multicultural network; Gemstar-TV Guide; Lifetime Entertainment Services; and A&E Television Networks.  Watkins holds a B.B.A. in Marketing from Temple University.

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