Univision's New Chief Randy Falco Reveals Plans, Challenges to Become No. 1 Broadcast Network (Q&A)

Randy Falco Executive Portrait 2011

The former NBC and AOL top executive also talks to THR about upfront ad sales and Univision's relationship with Televisa.

Randy Falco is the new man in charge of Spanish-language media powerhouse Univision Communications. The company announced the promotion of the industry veteran and former NBC and AOL top executive Wednesday afternoon. After the announcement, Falco talked to THR business editor Georg Szalai about his plans and his relationship with Univision investor and Mexican broadcaster Televisa and Univision chairman Haim Saban.

THR: You joined Univision in January as COO and executive vp. Now that you are president and CEO, what are you main goals?

Falco: The challenges going forward are ensuring that all the constituencies, mostly the advertisers and the distributors, really understand the power and the influence of the Hispanic market and the Hispanic viewer and consumer. Fifty million Hispanics, one in six Americans, can no longer be ignored. I think this is one of the most powerful media assets. The entire country is going to have to deal with and market to this increasingly influential segment of the market, and the best bridge to that market is through Univision.

THR: Your predecessor Joe Uva set the goal of making Univision the top network regardless of language within five years. Is that still your goal?

Falco: Sure, I think for us though it's beyond that. It's more about engagement. I want this to be within five years -- across all our media platforms -- the most heavily engaged media brand within viewers and consumers.

THR: Beyond ratings, what else will you look at?

Falco: I think in five years the measurement will be beyond ratings. We will also have to measure how people are using all your content across multiple platforms, including online and mobile. And because of the power of the Univision brand, we will have the most engaged brand in media.

THR: Could that mean being No. 1 in engagement, even though the Univision network is maybe not No. 1?

Falco: Engagement means that in the future there will be a lot more ways for our audience to interact with Univision content. What it means is how much time do they spend on all platforms. So, the key measurement will not be how many people are watching the Univision network. But believe me I still think we are going to grow and are shooting for No. 1, and that spot is certainly on our radar. But engagement will be the focus and the main measure.

THR: And how's your relationship with Univision executive chairman Haim Saban?

Falco: Haim is incredibly involved and helpful to us and gives us advice on just about every big issue that we deal with. He is an enormous supporter of not only me but the entire executive team, and we love that.

THR: Any anecdotes about the CEO nomination process that show your alignment with the Univision board's goals?

Falco: I can't really think of any. But we have been pretty much in sync right from the beginning with the board's vision and my vision of Univision being a preeminent media company in the future and growing all of its assets.

THR: How is Univision's relationship with Televisa and how involved are you?

Falco: I'm very involved with all the executives at Televisa. They are also incredibly supportive of me and this entire organization. We love that relationship and think it will only strengthen and grow in the future. We are really happy that they are part of this.

THR: How are upfront ad sales going?

Falco: They are going very well. I don't have an update beyond that, but we are feeling very good about our position right now.