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Univision Upfront Makes Room for Social Issues

(Image credit: Univision)

At the beginning of its virtual upfront, Univision took a beat to acknowledge the unprecedented times America is living through. 

After a rousing performance by Pitbull, who thanked the network and advertisers for investing in Latin culture, Univision put a message on the screen. 

“Over the past two weeks, we have seen the world come together to express outrage over the racial inequalities in America. The energy behind the Black Lives Matter movement--especially from our nation’s youth--is inspiring, and we firmly believe it has the power to create real, lasting change. We all need to work together to create that change,” white letters on a black screen read.

CEO Vince Sadusky

CEO Vince Sadusky (Image credit: Univision)

“Univision is an organization with a legacy of advocating for the Hispanic community, yet, we can do more. Therefore, we are looking inwards to support our employees, partners, and the communities we serve in the days and years ahead,” it said, signing off with the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #LasVidasNegrasImportan.

Univision CEO Vince Sadusky also addressed the unprecedented time. “Before we discuss our significant increases in linear and digital viewership and our exciting programming lineup, I wanted to take a moment to step back upon current events,” he said.

Sadusky talked about how Univision is unlike the general market media outlets. “We are different. We are relevant. And we have an amazing credibility with our audience that we never take for granted,” he said.

Related: Pitbull Highlights Virtual Univision Upfront

Eventually Univision got back to the main business of the upfront and its virtual event hit most of the notes an advertising presentation is expected to.

Sadusky talked about growing ratings among 18 to 34 year olds.

Related: Unvision Cuts Commercial Loads During COVID-19 Crisis

Before going into his pitch, Univision ad sales head Steve Mandala recognized the unusual circumstances. “I’m personally really glad just to be out of the house wearing long pants,” he said. “And I promise that I will never ever complain about my commute again.”

At a time when TV advertising is becoming more addressable, Mandala said that the Univision audience is already an addressable segment that advertisers ought to target. On top of that, Univision offers advanced advertising capabilities to further refine the consumers marketers need to reach.

Speaking of reach, Mandala noted that Univision offers viewers that can’t be reached with English-language TV and that 92% of its audience watches prime time live and 92% “watch your ads in our content.”

He also pointed to a Nielsen study about return on investment that found that over the past three years the ROI for Spanish-language campaigns had increased 40% since 2017. Brands that spent more than $1 million got an additional 20% in ROI and those that advertise for 20 weeks a year get twice the ROI as those that are on the air less frequently.

Jessica Rodriguez, chief marketing officer and president of entertainment, addressed a key concern of advertisers by saying Univision would have fresh programming for the 2020-21 season.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Juan Carlos Rodriguez (Image credit: Univision)

“Unlike other network scrambling for content, 90% of our primetime content is already produced or acquired and our great partner Televisa has been back in production for weeks,” she said. “That means our programming supply chain is full of exciting new production well into the 2021 season.”

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, head of sports at Univision, talked about the return of sports, especially soccer. He also started one of those great Zoom tricks, tossing a soccer ball that got virtually passed around by a dozen star players from different teams, leagues and countries before coming back to him.

The presentation closed on an upbeat note with Univision employees singing Here Comes the Sun. With everyone at home, some were playing instruments, some were joined by family members and future family members, others by pets and puppets. One guy was a bit off-brand, holding an umbrella in the rain.

The post-upfront Q+A with reporters

The post-upfront Q+A with reporters (Image credit: Univision)

After the presentation, Univision execs answered reporters’ questions by Zoom, recreating the usual post-upfront media scrum.

How do you say “new normal” in Spanish?

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.