Friday strong for Univision

Network topping its broadcast rivals in 18-34 that night

Univision's "Cuidado con el Angel" is beating all broadcast nets Fridays in adults 18-34.

While the broadcast networks continue to struggle to attract prime-time audiences (particularly younger viewers) on Fridays this fall, Hispanic network Univision is consistently delivering strong adults 18-34 ratings, not only through the season's first three weeks but the entire calendar year.

Season to date, Univision's three Friday telenovelas from 8-10 p.m. are drawing a median age audience of 33.5, just under The CW's 34.3 and decades younger than the 50-plus for the other broadcasters, according to Nielsen data. Year to date, Univision is averaging an even lower median age of 32 on the night.

Ratings themselves are strong, too. Season to date, Univision is delivering a 1.7 rating among adults 18-34 on Friday, compared to a 1.3 for CBS, 1.2 for ABC, 1.0 for Fox, and 0.9 for NBC and The CW. Year to date, Univision's average in the demo is a 2.0, all the more impressive because it faced such Friday favorites as a few NCAA Men's Basketball Championship games on CBS and two Fridays of Summer Olympics coverage on NBC.

Novela "Al Diablo con Guapos," which completed its run in September, averaged a 2.4 18-34 rating and 1.6 million viewers on Fridays at 8, more than double the highest rated show on English-language TV in demo in the time period, CBS' "Ghost Whisperer," which is delivering a 1.0 year to date. Cuidado con el Angel, which replaced the novela, is averaging a 1.7 18-34 rating, still beating Ghost Whisperer, which season to date is at a 1.5.

At 9 p.m., "Fuego en la Sangre" has averaged a 2.0 this season, higher than its closest rival, CBS' "The Ex-List" with a 1.3. And at 10, "Rosa Guadalupe" is averaging a 1.4, edging out CBS' "Numb3rs." The other nets are far below in all time periods in the demo.

So why aren't advertisers inundating the Univision airwaves on Fridays to reach these younger viewers? Christine Merrifield, senior vp, director of video integration and activation at MediaVest, said advertisers aren't necessarily reluctant -- it's just that Hispanic purchasing patterns of particular brands are different than general market. "Moving money is not something you do on a whim," she said.

But David Lawenda, Univision's president of sales and marketing, said the network is making progress along these lines. In this year's upfront, four categories--fast food, movies, beer and wireless--all increased their spending on the network, targeting the 18-34 demo. And his sales teams have been visiting with brand managers at more than a dozen major national advertisers, conducting "educational forums" on the Hispanic marketplace.