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Orlando Oné, the creative entrepreneur who wanted to reinvent television in Puerto Rico…

Focus
October 3, 2013

It is hard to choose only one word to describe Orlando Oné. Or even five. He is the kind of person who will always make you look like you are the laziest person in the world because no matter what, he will always be working on five more projects than you and still have the time to be thinking about the next one… and to workout of course! This young autodidactic, visionary man is alternately a movie director, screenwriter, actor, creative writer, a graphic artist, project manager, a passionate man and a certified business entrepreneur on Neuroscience studies - oh we almost forgot, he is also in the process of publishing his first novel, ‘Entre Cuentos, Salvador’, in relation to the subject of autism (Asperger) and the influences of the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí…

Told you!

Orlando Oné, the founder of Oh!Latino

To try to define him, we will have to listen to his own words: Orlando Oné is an artist and a Puerto Rican before everything else. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he has always been passionate about visual arts but was never satisfied with the audiovisual creativity in his country. Puerto Rico is a small country, an island that lies in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between the United States and Latin America. As a result, Puerto Rico has been influenced by both cultures, at the expense of the preservation of its own. And indeed, TV programs are full of American productions or telenovelas bought to their neighbours. The quality of content is very poor and doesn’t represent the Puerto Rican culture, history or people. “We have a lot of foreign programs, he says, but it’s not us, we need to value ourselves as a cultural country. We have a lot to promote, we have to keep our identity.”

Deploring the poor support of arts in Puerto Rico, Orlando Oné is convinced that citizens have to support art by themselves and that they should manage their own projects. “It is up to the people to stand up for what is important. When you have access to programming and art that you can relate to, it can make a real difference in terms of identity in a country.” “If regular TV is dying, he adds, it is not only because of the costs, but because the people in it don’t have the vision.” And the vision, no need to worry about that, Orlando has it.

In 2009, Orlando Oné decided it was time for him to follow his dream: reinventing local television so that Puerto Rico learns again how to connect with its roots, its culture and values. He combined his many creative outlets, business development experience and systems integration knowledge, to develop OH!Latino TV, ‘The revolution of television’. Through the modern concept of WEB TV, he focused his energy on the promotion of cultural progress through social interconnection for all Hispanic-speaking communities across the world.

They conducted market studies, asking people how they would define being a Puerto Rican, what they were expecting from television, programs etc. Then they began to create. Since the beginning, Orlando has wanted everything in the channel to be an original creation of a show designed for and by the Puerto Ricans, with always the same protagonist: the people. “Everything that we do, we do it with the people, they have to participate, they are part of the project and they actually have a dedicated space on the website.”  Indeed in some programs, you actually have the opportunity to choose the end you prefer, while in some others, you are asked to give your opinion or to make recommendations of topics that will be dealt with in the show. They are also going to open up to “correspondents” - individuals in other parts of the world who have an interesting subject to share - and to actually share their studio to enable people in Puerto Rico to express themselves. The goal is not to stay in the web area but to really come to interactivity. And they create programs and characters that look like Puerto Ricans, dealing with the realities and the taboos of society. While in a very traditional country, OH!Latino TV is indeed dealing with unconventional love relationships, soulful dramatic performances and young revolutionary latin talents breaking out in dance.

The launching is due March 2014, with seven to eleven new shows and series. They are taking their time, and the ambition is huge. The market of web TV is still to be created in Puerto Rico: it represents a big opportunity and they are working with a lot of strategic partners - companies, newspapers, government, agencies - to make it happen. As Orlando says, it is a “very profound commercial project”, and we wish it a very profound success.

The SparkTour: two young world travelers meet cultural entrepreneurs

This article is provided by the SparkTour : two young French women, Karine and Adele, on a cultural world tour. Their objective: on a quest to meet women and men, social entrepreneurs and journalists, who through their innovative actions, revitalize the local community. Vivendi, a partner of the SparkTour, is pleased to relay the exclusive, boldest cultural initiatives spotted by these globetrotters. Find out more about the SparkTour : www.sparktour.fr

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Pascal Ory is the driving force behind the Dictionnaire sur les étrangers qui ont fait la France – Dictionary of foreigners who made France in English – published by Editions Robert Laffont, available in bookshops starting from October 7, 2013. At a time when the debate over “national identity” continues to divide the political community, this Dictionary of unprecedented scope will undoubtedly re-establish certain truths and spark debate in return.

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