Wade Davis, Donna Speciale Introduce New Univision to Madison Avenue

Donna Speciale Univision
Donna Special shows off the brands advertising on the new streaming service Prende TV

Univision’s new leaders introduced “America’s Hispanic Super Brand” to Madison Avenue Wednesday, promising more programming, more reach and more platforms.

The Spanish-language media company was acquired at the end of last year by an investment group led by Wade Davis, the former CFO at Viacom. Both Davis and new ad sales president Donna Speciale offered greetings in both Spanish and English during a virtual presentation.

“I want you to see the incredible opportunities I saw in this business and this audience when I decided to put everything I had into Univision," Davis said.

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Davis said he plans to “amplify and modernize” Univision with new platforms and new solutions. His agenda was to provide advertisers with more reach, more places and more tools to engage the Hispanic audience, he said.

“We’re going to be making investments in content that Spanish-language television has never seen in the U.S., and maybe the world. More on that in the coming week[s],” Davis said, alluding to Univision’s upfront presentation in May.

“We are going to be taking Univision from the leader in the U.S. Hispanic market to be the global leader in Spanish-language media,” he added.

Wade Davis

Davis noted that at Viacom, he helped launch its Advanced Marketing Solutions unit.

“Many of the successes, failures and learning informed my decision to go all in on Univision . . .to unlock the power of this platform and this audience for you all,” he said. “We’re building this platform for you and we want you to be on the journey with is form day one as a company.”

Davis also talked about his new management team, including Speciale, who Davis noted had been an advanced advertising pioneer as president for advertising at Turner Broadcasting.

Speciale noted that she’d been on the job for just 10 weeks, but was already out there pitching.

“Our audience is growing. Our content is growing. Our footprint is growing and our marketing capabilities are growing. So our message today amount to a simple invitation: grow with us,” Speciale said.

Univision’s footprint expands next week with the launch of Prende TV, its free-ad supported streaming service. Univision also bought Vix and that makes the company “the only destination for Spanish language streaming in this country,” she said.

Prende TV offers will launch with 45 channels and 30,000 hours of content. Univision expects it to have 100 channels by year end. The company will be investing $100 million in marketing on Prende TV.

For advertisers, Prende TV offers non-skippable targeted ads and frequency management, Speciale said. Advertisers including McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Clorox, Toyota, Chase, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Lilly and Walmart have already signed up,she said.

Speciale also noted that she recently hired two of her former Turner colleagues, Dan Riess and Dan Aversano to build the company’s advanced advertising and branded content capabilities.

Ahead of the upfront, Speciale told advertisers that Univision and big events in the second and third quarter they could sponsor, including a Latin Grammy’s Honors Women special on Mothers Day, a pop-up concert in May, the Premios Juventud youth awards this summer and tons of soccer, with almost 100 matches in 90 days.

Special also said that Univison’s morning show, Despierta América, will be starting a Sunday edition.

Speciale noted that there are about 1,900 advertisers on English-language network TV and only about 400 of them advertising to the Hispanic audience in their language.

“Marketing to the HIspanic audience has to be a business imperative, not a nice to have,” she said. “Partnering with Univision is the easiest way to make it happen.”

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.