Univision Follows NBC With Virtual Presentation to Advertisers

Steve Mandala - Univision Publicity -H 2020
Courtesy of Univision

Univision has become the second media company to set a date for a virtual presentation to advertisers during what is traditionally upfronts week.

The Spanish-language broadcaster will host a two-part streaming presentation to ad buyers May 12, the same date it had initially scheduled its upfront. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter the event is not meant to replace an upfront — and that one may still happen when conditions allow — but more of an update on the state of its business.

Network and cable upfronts were canceled or postponed en masse in March, when the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Media companies are slowly making plans to present some sort of update to ad buyers. 

Univision is following NBCUniversal in setting a date for a streaming presentation during the traditional upfronts week. NBCU will host an hourlong presentation on the state of the business, followed by a question-and-answer session, on May 11.

The Univision presentation will feature ad sales chief Steve Mandala and other leaders, who will give updates on the health of the network, the top-rated Spanish-language outlet in the United States, and unveil new primary research from Nielsen.

The network will also announce that it's reducing commercial loads in programming by 15 percent and lay out a programming strategy that will allow Univision to have a complete primetime schedule into January 2021. Almost 90 percent of Univision's content is either in-house or already produced. 

Several TV executives told THR in early April there has been some discussion of upfronts starting in late May, with one media company taking the virtual stage per week. But with the country still largely at a standstill, concrete plans are difficult to make.

Delays in upfront presentations would also move back the start of negotiations between the media conglomerates and ad buyers for the upfront market, which usually are concentrated a few weeks after the network presentations.

Disney, WarnerMedia and Fox have yet announce plans for virtual presentations. ViacomCBS still hopes to make a presentation to advertisers in May but hasn't set a date.