MBPT Spotlight: Spanish-Language Broadcast Primetime Viewing Slipped A Bit This Summer

What a difference a year makes. Last summer, viewership at the two top Hispanic broadcast networks, Univision and Telemundo, was on fire. Univision won the broadcast network July sweeps in multiple demos, including the advertiser-desired 18-49 demo by 21% over second place Fox. And Telemundo produced its best ratings numbers for July and August in the network’s history.

This summer, despite once again finishing first among all the broadcast networks in the 18-49 demo in the July sweeps, Univision won by the tiniest of margins with a 1.15 rating, compared to a 1.13 for NBC.

Both Univision and Telemundo are also down in viewership for the entire summer. Univision is averaging 2.9 million viewers compared to 3.3 million last summer, down about 10%, according to Nielsen data. Telemundo is averaging 1.4 million viewers compared to 1.5 million, a decline of about 7% from last summer. In the 18-49 demo this summer, Univision has a rating of 1.14 vs. a 1.29 last summer, a decline of about 15%, while Telemundo is flat in the demo with a 0.6 for both summers.

The English-language broadcast networks were also all down in viewership this summer, so the declines shown by the Hispanic networks are not a particular indictment. In fact, Univision should celebrate winning the July sweeps in the 18-49 demo for a second consecutive year over the English-language networks as an accomplishment.

While their live-plus-same-day ratings are down this summer, both Univision and Telemundo, like their English-language broadcast counterparts, could be feeling the effects of more delayed viewing.

A major positive for the Hispanic networks traditionally has been that they air all first-run programming throughout the summer , while the English-language networks have always run more repeats. However, the English-language networks put on more first-run programming this summer, which could have drawn away some of the bilingual Hispanic audience. And there is also more Spanish-language network competition going after the audience that has been dominated by Univision and Telemundo.

“I think the Hispanic networks are starting to see some of the same audience erosion for live viewing as the English-language networks,” says Brad Adgate, senior VP, research at Horizon Media. “Some of it could be delayed viewing. Novellas are serialized and that can foster delayed binge-viewing. Some of it also could be viewing of Univision and Telemundo programming on other platforms. The Hispanic audience has a much younger median age and a lot of that audience is millennials who are watching TV on platforms that aren’t yet measured.”

Even though the World Cup telecasts on Univision in July weren’t in primetime, the Cup telecasts could have changed some of the viewing patterns of the network’s viewers, Adgate says. Watching all the Cup games during the day and early evenings could have resulted in some viewers taking a break from the primetime novellas.

However, Adgate says the sweeps win can’t be discounted. “Two years in a row shows that it is not an aberration,” he says.

Among the 18-49 demo audience this summer, Univision is averaging 1.53 million viewers, ranking it third behind NBC (1.77 million) and ABC (1.71 million), but ahead of Fox (1.45 million) and CBS (1.44 million).

Univision is also first among adults 18-34 this summer and first among persons 12-34. In the 18-34 demo, Univision is averaging 721,000 viewers this summer, ahead of ABC (698,000), NBC (662,000), Fox (617,000) and CBS (451,000). Among the 12-34 demo, Univision is averaging 923,000 viewers this summer, ahead of ABC (862,000), NBC (852,000), Fox (755,000) and CBS (576,000).

Univision is also beating all the English-language cable networks among viewers 18-49 this summer, with the network closest to its 1.53 million 18-49 viewers per night being USA with 901,000, a margin of 71%.

Telemundo, with its average 744,000 18-49 viewers per primetime night this summer, ranks behind USA and TBS (802,000), but ahead of the rest of the English-language cable networks, including TNT (695,000), ESPN (658,000), FX (637,000), Discovery (633,000) and History (629,000), according to Nielsen data.

Univision touts itself as the No. 1 broadcast network during the summer for coviewing and that has held true this summer—47% of Univision’s 18-49 viewers coview the network’s primetime novellas with other adults 18-49, according to Nielsen data. That compares to 40% of NBC’s 18-49 viewers, 39% of Fox’s viewers and 35% each of CBS, ABC and The CW viewers. The percentage of difference of coviewing among other demos are of similar percentages.

Univision’s most-watched novella this summer has been Lo Que Vida Me Robo (What Life Stole FromMe) at 9 p.m. averaging 4 million viewers and a 1.6 18-49 demo rating. That is a sizable number but less than the 4.7 million and 1.9 in the demo that Amores Verdaderos (True Love) averaged last summer in the same time period.

Telemundo’s most-watched novella this summer has been the second season of El Señor de los Cielos (The Lord of the Skies) at 10 p.m., which is averaging 2.1 million viewers and a 1.0 18-49 demo rating. Last summer the novella averaged 2.4 million and a 1.2 in the demo in the same time period.

Besting Its Rival

While Univision wins its head-to-head battle with Telemundo in the overall viewer and demo numbers, Telemundo does like to crow about the times when it outdoes its main competitor. For the week of Aug. 28, for example, El Señor de los Cielos delivered its best weekly performance of the summer in the 18-49 demo, drawing 1.4 million viewers and beating Univision’s premiere week of its new 10 p.m. novella La Malquerida (1.23 million) by 15%.

During the summer season, Telemundo’s boxing series, Boxeo Telemundo Ford, outdrew Univision’s sister network UniMás’ Solo Boxeo by 57% in viewers (566,000 to 360,000) and by 81% in the 18-49 demo (246,000 to 136,000). Boxeo Telemundo Ford was also the most-watched boxing program on TV regardless of language this summer.

Telemundo’s kid’s music competition series, La Voz Kids, averaged 2.1 million viewers this summer and a 0.7 18-49 demo rating in is second season, down from the 2.3 million viewers and 0.9 in the demo that it averaged last summer. The series finale averaged 2.6 million viewers and 1.2 million in the 18-49 demo.

Meanwhile, Univision continues to out-deliver one or more of the English-language broadcast networks every night of the week, as it has all summer, in both the 18-49 and 18-34 demos.

The respective networks’ music competition series, which premiered during the summer and will continue into the fall—Yo Soy El Artista on Telemundo and Va Por Ti on Univision—have also signed up some major sponsors.

Toyota, Revlon and T-Mobile are the three major sponsors of Yo Soy El Artista, while Coors Light, Boehringer Ingelheim, Metro-PCS and Nissan North America have signed on board as sponsors for Va Por Ti.

Outside of primetime, Telemundo announced on Monday that its four news programs will all deliver their best total broadcast seasons ever in viewers and in the 18-49 demo.

The daily news and entertainment magazine Al Rojo Vivo con Maria Celeste is averaging 1.12 million viewers, up 12% and 449,000 18-49 viewers, up 4%.

National nightly newscast Noticiero Telemundo, anchored by Maria Celesta Arraras and Jose Diaz-Balart is averaging 838,000 viewers, up 9%, and 338,000 adults 18-49, up 2%.

Morning news show Un Nuevo Dia is averaging 209,000 viewers, up 10% and 96,000 adults 18-49, up 13%. And Telemundo’s Sunday current affairs show, Enfoque con Jose Diaz-Belart is averaging 172,000 viewers, up 9% and 83,000 adults 18-49, up 11%.

The network news programming is doing so well that on Saturday, Oct. 4, Telemundo will premiere a weekend newscast, Noticias Telemundo Fin de Semana, to be anchored by Edgardo del Villar.

With the start of the new broadcast season, expect Univision to remain competitive with the English-language broadcast networks in both the 18-34 and 18-49 demos on most nights of the week.

During the 2013-14 regular season, Univision consistently was the most-watched broadcast network among viewers 18-34 on Friday nights. And during the 2013 November sweeps, when the English-language networks were airing all their new first-run programming, Univision beat one or more of them on 72% of the nights in the 18-34 demo and on 48% of the nights among adults 18-49.

So, expect the 2014-15 primetime broadcast season to be another where Univision holds its own against its English-language counterparts.