Upfronts: TelevisaUnivision Wants Advertisers to ‘Grow With Us’

Donna Speciale at 2021 TelevisaUnivision upfront
Donna Speciale at 2021 TelevisaUnivision upfront (Image credit: TelevisaUnivision)

With ad revenues rising in a soft market, TelevisaUnivision had reason to be confident as it held its upfront presentation Tuesday.

Last year, Televisa and Univision combined to create a Spanish-language powerhouse. It launched the streaming service ViX, which now has more than 30 million monthly active users, and a branded content studio, Asi. Advertisers have embraced both, Donna Speciale, president of U.S. advertising sales and marketing, told Broadcasting+Cable.

Advertisers including Toyota, Chevrolet and JCPenney have worked with Asi, and Metro by T-Mobile is working on a campaign connected to TelevisaUnivision’s Liga MX soccer telecasts.

“We basically created the first massive, global Spanish-speaking media company in the world,” Speciale said. “In 2023, it’s all about differentiation. The media ecosystem is very crowded, but we have a very unique and influential audience that continues to grow in size and impact.”

At its upfront, using the theme “Grow With Us,” TelevisaUnivision said it had secured the rights to two major sporting events, the Copa America soccer tournament and the Spanish-language broadcast rights to Super Bowl LVIII.

The company also said that Vix would be launching the original series El Extraño Retorno De Diana Salazar in 2024 featuring Eugenio Derbez, Angelique Boyer and Sebastian Rulli.

Pierluigi Gazzoa, CEO of Vix, said 80% of consumption on ViX is of content no other broadcaster or streamer has and 63% of ViX users are incremental to TelevisaUnivision’s linear channels.

Last year, TelevisaUnivision also developed its Hispanic household audience graph to help advertisers connect with Spanish-speaking consumers.

“We currently have 150 clients using the graph, so we have made tremendous progress,” Speciale said.

With linear, streaming, social, audio and local, “we are every with our audience that clients want to lean into, which is why cross-platform measurement is very important to us,” she said.

Despite the prominence of Latino culture, the work of convincing some marketers to advertise to  Hispanic consumers in their language and culture never ends. Given the buying power of Hispanics, “it’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have,” Speciale said.

Historically, multicultural advertising was among the first areas to get cut when the economy gets rough. “I can tell you now that it’s not,“ she said. “It’s the last place that they look.”

Since last year, TelevisaUnivison added 110 new brands and clients.

“I’m really pleased. People are listening to us,“ Speciale said, adding: “We still have a lot of work to do with pharma and financial. Those are two categories that are still underrepresented in a big way, but we’re definitely making headway.”

Clients Will Make the Pitch

At its upfront, TelevisaUnivision will feature testimonials from client chief marketing officers at Hyundai, Expedia, Wells Fargo and Fetch talking about how advertising in the Spanish language to the Hispanic audience has changed the trajectory of their businesses. 

“It’s one thing for us to tell the story,“ Speciale said. “But when clients hear from other clients about the journey they took, what they did and how they leaned in, it’s really, really impactful.” 

TelevisaUnivision will be using Nielsen new big-data audience numbers when negotiating its upfront deals this year. Historically, Univision has complained that Spanish-language viewing was undercounted by Nielsen. Some of the big-data numbers show viewing up by more than 26%. 

NIelsen’s big data is unaccredited by the Media Rating Council, but Speciale said that doesn’t matter as much as eliminating the underrepresentation of Hispanic viewers.

“We can’t wait any longer,“ she said. ”We need to move forward and we’re not going to wait.”

Jon Lafayette

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.