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While every network presenting at this year’s upfronts are highlighting their streaming wares and linear offerings, executives from TelevisaUnivision are approaching sales meetings with an ace up their sleeve: Its linear TV ratings are on the rise.
“We are up 7 percent across our portfolio in primetime. That alone is a statement in itself,” TelevisaUnivision ad sales chief Donna Speciale tells The Hollywood Reporter.
And so this year TelevisaUnivision’s pitch (it’s first since the merger) is two-fold: Yeah, it’s investing in streaming in a major way, launching the premium ViX+ service later this year. But it’s also going to spend more cash on its linear networks too.
“We are doing it in both places, which again is a little different with what is happening elsewhere in the marketplace,” Speciale says, adding that with ViX “we are not reskinning Univision the broadcast network, like many of our competitors do … You are not going to see Univision content on ViX.”
“They [the English-language competition] had to-do streaming to survive, we did it because it was an opportunity for our Hispanic audience because there was no destination for premium, Spanish language content, basically it didn’t exist,” Speciale added.
Instead, ViX and ViX+ will be the global premium Spanish-language destination, with Univision holding fort in the U.S., continuing to service the Spanish-speaking audience here.
“ViX is not a repurposing of our TV offering,” adds Pierluigi Gazzolo, president and chief transformation officer at TelevisaUnivision. “We are investing a significant amount of incremental dollars in content and sports rights above and beyond our networks. It’s more original content en español than anyone else – no matter what.”
Among the announcements Tuesday for ViX were Enamorándonos, La Isla, a spinoff of the reality dating series Enamorándonos, and Koati, The Series, based on the animated film of the same name, which will was created by and will star Sofia Vergara.
On the linear side of the business, the company announced a tribute to the musician Selena, Por Siempre: Selena; a renewal deal for Concacaf soccer rights; the late night show De Noche Pero Sin Sueño; and new scripted serials La Madrastra (The Stepmother) and Pimero Tu.
And of course there are renewals as well, including The Masked Singer, Corona de Lágrimas, and others.
Ultimately, the company will allow ad-targeting across its platforms, with Speciale touting the fact that there seems to be minimal overlap between them.
“Streaming has brought in all new viewers, and younger, which is what streaming does, but we are not cannibalizing our linear audience, because we grew,” she said, adding that the company is officially launching its Hispanic data graph tied to the upfront.
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