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Univision Stations Getting Their Share of Local TV Ad Dollars

Univision Television Group, which includes 62 owned and
operated TV stations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, is rolling up some
impressive accomplishments in the areas of local programming, ratings and ad
sales. In November, Univision stations were awarded 51 local Emmy Awards and
the owned stations have some of the most-watched local newscasts in the
country, drawing more viewers in key demos than their local English-language
broadcast network affiliate competitors. And in the key automotive ad sales
category, the station group is producing sizable increases in ad dollars
compared to last year.

Overseeing the group is its president Kevin Cuddihy, who
joined Univision in 2009 as executive VP of TV ad sales for Univision Local
Media, after spending eight years at Comcast Spotlight Sales, where he was
senior VP of ad sales. Prior to that, he spent almost 20 years with the CBS
Station Group in assorted executive roles.

In his current role, Cuddihy oversees all operations for the
Univision owned and operated stations, including ad sales and local
programming, and works to ensure collaboration between the TV stations and the
company's other media assets, including the TV networks, radio and digital.

Cuddihy spent some time with MBPT discussing the local TV ad
marketplace and how the Univision stations are faring in the battle for local
ad dollars.

Has local TV
advertising recovered from the downturn in the economy?

Our biggest local category is automotive, and it is still coming out of the
recession. We see most of the Tier 1 [corporate] auto dollars now being spent
on the network level because it's easier for the car companies to rebrand
themselves at the national level. Tier 2 [regional dealer groups] is still
soft, but Tier 3 [local dealer] spending is stronger than it's ever been.
According to Kantar data, spot automotive ad spending for Tiers 1 and 2 was up
4.5 percent for English-language TV stations for the first four months of this
year, while it was up 66 percent for Univision stations. For Tier 3, dealer
spending on local English-language stations was up almost 15 percent, but at
the Univision stations, we nearly doubled our ad revenue in the first four
months compared to 2011.

Why has local auto
dealer spending grown so much for the Univision stations?

Hispanics tend to buy cars more often, and new car sales among Hispanics is
much higher than with non-Hispanics. Auto dealers see great opportunity at the
local level reaching out to Hispanics.

What are some other
strong ad revenue categories for the Univision stations?

Auto is by far the largest ad category, but we also over-index in the fast
food category.

What categories
have been slowest to come back at the local level?

Telecommunications has been very soft. Both AT&T and T-Mobile cut back
on their ad spending while trying to get their merger approved, and now
T-Mobile is spending a lot of dollars trying to build out its 4G network. So
the ad promotion dollars just haven't been there at the local level. But we
believe that the category will rebound locally heading into 2013.

What kind of ad
spending has the Univision stations received from political candidates and PACs
during the election campaigns so far?

Our share of political ad dollars locally is at the highest level it's ever
been, but we don't have that many owned and operated stations in the eight key
swing states. We do have an owned station in Raleigh, N.C., and in Miami, Fla.
But some of our affiliate stations are in toss-up states like New Mexico, Nevada
and also in Florida. Early on, we've seen good general election spending from
both parties, more so at this point than in the past. Typically we had never
gotten so much political spending in May. Usually those dollars don't start
coming in until later in the year. But now our stations seem to be top of mind
in both parties.

How does selling
local advertising for a Hispanic TV station differ from an English-language

There really isn't much difference. Our stations will only run Spanish-language
commercials. If an advertiser doesn't have an agency to handle that, we can
work with the advertiser to help them produce it. Other than that, everything
is pretty similar. The ratings currency we sell is the same NSI. We just have
to go out and get our share of the dollars. One major selling point is our
median age audience. We skew younger than the English-language stations by
15-20 years in each market and that helps us with many different advertisers,
particularly in the fast food restaurant category.

What can you do to
bring in more ad dollars to the Univision stations?

Our goal is to keep stepping up our political coverage, and we are getting
more audience research that we can show advertisers. We also sponsor local
debates. We sponsored one recently in California and we are in the process of
planning one for Texas. We also have held them in Florida.

And these debates
are sponsored by the stations independently of Univision network?

Yes. Our mission is to inform, educate and entertain our audience, in that
order. Educating the voters is a priority.

When Univision
stations sell local or spot advertising, can they sell together on a regional

Univision local programming is pretty consistent across all the stations, so
our non-primetime programming for our Chicago station looks the same as New
York as far as the shows and the time periods. So that gives us an advantage
when we want to get national dollars for local.

Local news
telecasts tend to bring in the lion's share of local ad dollars to TV stations.
How do Univision stations stack up in that regard?
In the top 10 U.S. markets, if you add up the 18-49 ratings of local
news telecasts on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox stations, combined the rating does not
equal the combined 18-49 ratings for just the Univision stations. Our Los
Angeles station, KMEX, is the highest-rated in the country in late night
news, and our New York station WXTV has the largest early-evening ratings.

How important has
the digital platform become to local stations and Univision in particular?

Our goal is to continue to be the No. 1 network for Hispanics and to grow
our audience and to do that, we have to be everywhere. Digital today is all
about video and video is what we do. That's what our expertise is -- video.
Even in the early stages, mobile has played a critical role in bringing in
unique viewers for us. Hispanics over-index in purchasing of smartphones,
so mobile is an important area for our stations to concentrate