Univision, NTI Hot Topics During Upfront

With the Hispanic advertising upfront in full swing, discussions will likely be dominated by talk of the Nielsen Television Index and the potential sale of Univision. Increased cable viewership and TeleFutura’s ratings slide will also be hot issues.

The week’s most-watched event will likely be Univision’s annual presentation on Wednesday (May 17). Executives will be talking about the flagship broadcast network, as well as the ailing TeleFutura and Galavision, which is by far the largest and strongest Spanish-language cable network.

According to Univision co-president of network sales Dennis McCauley, "The big story for all Spanish-language networks is the growth story and NTI has helped that a lot."

But many buyers at Hispanic agencies consider Univision's stated preference to use NTI to set rates during this upfront to be not at all helpful. The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies went so far as to take a common stance and issue a press release criticizing the company’s attempted use of NTI. Their objections boil down to the limited amount of Nielsen Hispanic Television Index data currently available. Telemundo has repeatedly stated its willingness to do deals based on either NTI or NHTI for this upfront.

During the network's first quarter conference call, Univision COO Ray Rodriguez suggested the resistance was due to ratings that were higher in NTI than NHTI and thus the agencies were primarily trying to avoid paying higher rates.

Far less controversial is the increased willingness among agencies to buy Hispanic cable whether in English or Spanish thanks to increased distribution, viewership and audience segmentation. New platforms such as video on demand are also being promoted but buyers have yet to show much interest.