Upfronts 2012: Univision Unveils Digital On-Demand Network

Univision logo - H 2012

Univision logo - H 2012

UVideos, which is set to launch this summer, will feature a complete catalogue of Univision entertainment content as well as original web novellas.

Univision has attracted more younger viewers than NBC on 195 nights this season. Univision out-delivers one or more of its English-language broadcast competitors – ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC – on nearly every single night among adults 18-34. Univision has 48 of the top 50 shows among bilingual Hispanics 18-49. Univision’s median viewer age in primetime is 36 compared to more than 50 at its broadcast competitors. And 93 percent of Univision programs are viewed live.

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Univision executives have been employing the above statistics to persuade buyers that Spanish-language media – which caters to more than 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. – should not be overlooked in the upfront market.

Hispanic media, said Univision president and CEO Randy Falco during a conference call with reporters on Friday, “represents one of the only growth opportunities out there.”

Noting Univision’s 73 percent Spanish-language market share, he added: “If marketers want to tap into the growth opportunities Hispanic media has to offer, they need to come to us.”

To bolster their point, Univision on Friday announced a major, multi-platform media buy with StarcomUSA and multicultural agency Tapestry, the first deal of the upfront selling season, which symbolically kicks off Monday in New York with star-studded presentations from NBC and Fox.

“Five years ago we were an afterthought. Our deals were done after the broadcast networks deals. So this is huge,” said David Lawenda, president of ad sales and marketing, adding that he expects to finalize more major media deals in the next couple weeks.

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Univision will hold its upfront presentation – with performances from Pitbull and Shakira – Tuesday at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where they will unveil a new logo and give media buyers a look at new projects for the 2012-13 season including multiple telenovelas and unscripted series. The network also will unveil a new digital network – UVideos – that will make all of the network’s programs available on-demand and accessible on multiple devices and platforms including game consoles, smart phones, tablets and internet-enabled TV’s. Currently in Beta testing, the digital channel is set to launch this summer.

To that end, Univision also announced production on two original web novellas co-produced by Univision Studios and Televisa, the Mexico-based content giant that owns a stake in Univision. The web novellas will mark the directorial debut of popular Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who starred in Telemundo’s popular telenovela La Reina del Sur (Queen of the South).

Telenovelas – which feature major stars and run five nights a week typically ending with a cliffhanger that entices viewers back night-after-night – are by far the most popular form of scripted entertainment in Spanish-language media.

“This genre is a force of nature,” noted Univision Networks president Cesar Conde.

And a web version of the telenovela, added Lawenda, is “chock full of integration opportunities.”

Email: Marisa.Guthrie@thr.com

Twitter: @MarisaGuthrie