Going into the upfront, Univision has a different view than most other companies in the TV business.
While most of the industry is feeling the disruption caused by an ever-increasing number of viewers watching shows on their own time schedules, Univision says its programming is still viewed 93% to 94% live.
And while other networks are trying to get into the business of slicing and dicing their audiences to create unique offerings, Univision says its audience is 76% unduplicated by other channels.
“You can’t get our audience anywhere else,” says Keith Turner, president of ad sales at Univision.
This year the theme of Univision’s upfront presentation is “This Way Forward.’’ It’s designed to tell marketers about what makes Univision unique.
But in some ways, Univision is dealing with industry trends the same ways its English-language counterparts are.
At a time when marketers are looking to do multiplatform campaigns, Univision wants them to know about all the assets it offers.
“When people used to think about Univision, they used to think about just the flagship, but the fact is we’re two networks, we’re 14 cable networks, we’re 62 television stations, we’re 69 radio stations. And any number of different digital offerings, so we are a solutions-based company,” Turner says.
An increasing number of clients desire to do company-wide deals with Univision that take in not just broadcast, but many of its assets in the upfront.
“Marketers are looking for it that way. We’re prepared to sell it that way. More and more business is done that way,” says Turner. “In fact we also combined our local media group, so the local TV group and the local radio group are now one and they sell as one as well. It’s where the business is going and I’d rather be out in front of it than behind it. That’s for sure.”
When Univision talks about being solutions oriented, that means it sells not just rating points, but opportunities to be integrated into Univision’s entertainment properties, as well as sports and digital.
“Back in November, we reformatted our sales organization so we’re set up to provide those solutions as a team,” Turner says.
But those clients are the same clients that are putting less value in locking up media buys early and more value in being able to make last-minute adjustments in the general market.
“Flexibility is certainly something that advertisers are looking more and more at, that’s for sure. That’s not just an English-language issue. That’s an industry issue,” Turner says. “Because of the nature of our programming, because we’re viewed live, because we’re younger—I mean our average age is 39 compared to mid-to-high-60s for the other guys—we’re in a little bit of a different scenario there.”
When it comes to data, Univision has begun by taking some baby steps. “I think that obviously the more information that we can give a marketer about our audience and who they’re looking to target, sure we’re all interested in that. But we’re not there yet,” he says. “And when I say ‘we,’ I mean the industry.”
Univision is staffing up data capabilities. “We’ve got a strategy and insights group, we’ve got a research group and part of our clients marketing group” all looking at data, he says.
While the general market encountered a slowdown early in the season, Turner says scatter was not a problem for Univision and the Spanish language market. “It’s a little early on third quarter, we don’t have a feel yet. But second looks like it’s shaping up very nicely for us. So it feels good. And that’s usually a pretty good indicator, or historically it has been anyway, that if your second quarter is in good shape, your upfront tends to be in good shape.”
Still, the Spanish-language market remains a bit different from the general market because Univision still finds there are marketers it needs to sell on the value of the value of Hispanic consumers.
“There’s a gap in individual marketers. Our focus is still pharmaceutical, automotive, movies and quick service restaurants. As an example, Hispanics account for about 28% to 30% of the moviegoing audience, yet [the studios] still only spend about 5% to 8% of their budget against the segment. It’s a constant education process for us.
“In addition to those categories, Univision scans for categories and clients that spend a zero share or a very low share of their marketing budgets on Spanish-language media. Those become a focus for the company’s business development group.
While Univision, led by president/ CEO Randy Falco, maintains the lion’s share of the Hispanic market, Comcast continues to invest in its Spanish-language properties, including Telemundo. But Turner doesn’t view competing with Telemundo as a priority.
“I don’t worry necessarily about the other Hispanic broadcasters because we already have all of their advertisers. My interest is in the advertisers that are on the English-language [networks]. Those are the ones that I’m looking for,” Turner says.“The fact that the other Hispanic broadcasters want to talk about the value of the audience, the value of the segment, sure that helps.”
In fact, Turner says Univision expects to grow this year. “I always think that we’ll increase our share because of the fact that we can activate people that we have never had before,” he says. “It’s way too early to tell where the market is yet. The budget discussions haven’t really happened yet.”
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.
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