Univision’s PrendeTV streaming service will premiere this quarter with a group of blue-chip advertisers as launch partners, according to Donna Speciale, recently named president of advertising sales and marketing at the Spanish-language media company.
The launch partners include Clorox, Coca-Cola, Dunkin, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota and Walmart. Speciale said these PrendeTV Premiere Club members will get a first look at programming and sponsorship opportunities, assist in developing innovative commercial executions and help find ways to improve the consumer experience.
Speciale had been president for ad sales at Turner, but left in 2019 after it was taken over by AT&T, two weeks she ago joined the management team assembled by new CEO Wade Davis, who led the acquisition of a controlling interest in Unvision last year.
The advertisers were pitched on the streaming service during the upfront last year before Davis’ deal, first agreed to in February, closed in December. The network’s sales reps knew Davis planned to launch a streaming service, but didn’t know its name.
“We needed to get into the streaming business,” said Speciale, “The fact that he got in and is launching the first U.S. Spanish-Speaking streaming service that quickly is really impressive, she added. “They've been working behind the scenes really pushing this together, which I think is great.”
Speciale, an early advocate of the shift to more targeted television advertising, sees the streaming service linking with her efforts to build up Univision’s advanced advertising and targeting capabilities, not just on linear networks, but by jumping ight into cross-platform campaigns.
“I think there’s some really smart people here. I think we’re lacking some skill sets in the advanced advertising area because this was a company that wasn’t investing” as it prepared to get acquired. “Now Wade is here and he knows the way to take this company to a new level is to bring in some different skill set to help me transform the company si its more focused on audiences, addressable and targeting capabilities.”
Univision is already a member of OpenAP, the advanced advertising consortium co-founded by Speciale when she was at Turner, and will remain a member, she said.
Developing advanced advertising capabilities will be easier at Univision because of Speciale’s experience at Turner and because clients are more familiar with it and have seen its effectiveness. “The marketers are realizing that targeting is where TV needs to go,” she said.
Speciale said she was familiar with Univision from her time as a media buyer. “I definitely purchased it,” she said, citing a more holistic approach to marketing, rather than focusing primarily on English-speaker and dealing with multi-cultural audiences as a side conversation.
She expects to persuade more big marketers that they need to advertise on Univision. “You’re not going to be able to grow your business long term if you don’t reach the Hispanic audience,” she said.
Speciale wants marketers to see Univision as a resource. “If you’re not familiar with the U.S. Hispanic audience, we can help you with your strategy, or if you don’t really have the capabilities of doing Spanish-language creative, I want Univision to be that resource to help you figure out your creative messaging because we know that culture so well.”
Already, Speciale said she’s starting to look at plans for another upfront.
“It’s going to be virtual. I think we’re going to have a lot to talk about,” she said. “I just actually saw the virtual upfront that they did [in 2020]. I watched it this weekend and it’s pretty impressive,” she said. “I think everybody did a really great job with the virtual upfronts, given that a lot of it was last minute. Now at least we have time.”
After leaving Turner, Speciale said she started looking for an opportunity to transform another company. But the time she had between jobs was “the best year and a half of my life. I’m not kidding. I was blessed,” she said.
She started out by travelling. After COVID-19 hit, she spent time with her family and gardening. “My kids said, ‘my God, she’s Martha Stewart,” Speciale said.
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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