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Upfronts: Donna Speciale Touts New Televisa-Univision Combo

Donna Speciale at 2022 TelevisaUnivision upfront
Donna Speciale at TelevisaUnivision's upfront presentation in New York. (Image credit: TelevisaUnivision)

Backed by more resources and more programming thanks to Univision’s combination with Televisa, Donna Speciale, president of U.S. advertising sales and marketing at TelevisaUnivision, is ready to take on other media companies no matter what language they speak.

“We’re putting more investment, more momentum and more growth behind our ability to better inform, empower and entertain the Hispanic community — and deliver opportunities for all of you to grow with us,” Speciale told advertisers are the TelevisaUnivision upfront at the Javits Center Tuesday.

“We compete head to head with every other media company,” Speciale told Broadcasting+Cable a few days before upfront week. “We are the only media company growing in the linear business in prime time and across the board.”  

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At a time when traditional TV ratings are shrinking, “where are all those linear impressions going? They’re coming to TelevisaUnivision,” she said.

TelevisaUnivision is also growing its streaming business, by launching ViX, but not because it is losing viewers or ad dollars. 

“What we saw is there was not a destination for our Hispanic community in streaming for the Spanish-language content that they want to watch," she said. 

Last year Univision launched the ad-supported streaming service Prende TV. This year, it is upping its game by becoming ViX, which will have more original programming and more sports, especially soccer. 

“ViX is an incredible environment for brands. It adds to our massive reach and sits at the heart of our premium digital video offering.”

TelevisaUnivision announced new ad formats coming to ViX, in partnership with Innovid, for brands to amplify their connected TV campaign performance — including pause ads, binge ads, image gallery expands and shoppable expands, as well as other high impact units.

And while there has been a lot of activity in finding new measurement companies offering alternatives to Nielsen, TelevisaUnivision has been working to make sure the new measurement systems properly account for minority viewers. In fact, Speciale said that some of those measurement companies have called on TelevisaUnivision's expertise with Hispanic audiences.

“Last year we promised to build the world’s first-ever Hispanic data graph, and today we are up and running,” Speciale said. “Our graph provides the biggest and most accurate picture of this vital audience you will find. Most importantly, it solves the representation problem, already covering 85% of U.S. Hispanic households with best-in-class accuracy — and we are still growing.”

Properly counting audiences is integral to measuring the impact and outcomes of campaigns, she noted.

Also: TelevisaUnivision Launches Asi Spanish-Language Brand Studio

Since her arrival at Univision in 2021, shortly after Wade Davis led a group of investors in acquiring Univision, Speciale has been working to convince more advertisers they need to address the Hispanic market in addition to building up advanced advertising capabilities.

“We have made huge headway getting new advertisers to get into the Hispanic market,” she said. About 200 new advertisers have been added to the TelevisaUnivision roster in the past year. 

“But there are still a lot more that still are not leaning into bringing inclusivity and diverse audiences into their marketplace,“ she said. ”And that’s definitely a miss, a huge miss. Hispanics are America’s growth driver with 20% of the population. You cannot build your business, or grow your business, without the Hispanic audience.”

With its strength in linear, TelevisaUnivision has been spending time talking to planners about how they can lower their linear costs by shifting dollars to Spanish-language television. ”Especially for those clients that are already buying us, they can increase their reach two-fold and lower their cost of doing business,” Speciale said. “Now everybody’s talking about trying to push money to their streaming service.”

While this year’s market may not be as explosive as last year, Speciale believes advertisers will show up with demand. “Do I think the demand is going be what last year's demand is?“ she said. “Probably not, but I still believe that the upfront will be up from a demand perspective. It's just how high.” ■

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.