The 2024 Upfront Message From TelevisaUnivision: Get on Your Feet and Culture Up Ahora!

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Cover image for  article: The 2024 Upfront Message From TelevisaUnivision: Get on Your Feet and Culture Up Ahora!

When TelevisaUnivision puts on an NYC Upfront Week extravaganza, you can always count on an occasion that entertains the advertising throng while engaging them to confront and address what continues to hold the entire U.S. Spanish-language TV medium back from being all it can be and beyond. That ability was demonstrated again May 14, when the cultivator of Univision, Unimas, Galavision, TUDN and megacontent service Vix converted Latino-owned venue HK Hall on West 48th Street into "Casa Cultura," a two-floor Hispanic culture residence.

The Big Message: There's no way, no how that advertisers can avoid spending a major percent of their media spending on TelevisaUnivision and its catalog of TV, radio, music and multimedia assets. "We are a cross-platform juggernaut," insisted Donna Speciale, the company's U.S. Advertising Sales and Marketing President. "We're putting culture front and center because it is the number one driver of consumer behavior. Our culture platform is your control agent for growth."

Hosts: Speciale, who in her time at TelevisaUnivision has become a leading advocate for full-throttle sponsorship of Spanish-language TV in general, was the primary host. Vix Chief Executive Officer Pierluigi Gazzolo and Univision Networks Group President Ignacio Meyer led their respective presentation segments.

What Worked: Speciale inviting the advertising community throughout the presentation to break past Spanish-language TV spending habits, while breaking away from audience panel measurement as the main tool for determining how much to spend and when. "Advertisers must make long-term commitments, not one-off campaigns tied to a special time of year (Hispanic Heritage Month for example) or a celebrity. The advertisers who are consistent and authentic with this audience are killing it," she continued. "It's time to stop thinking of this audience as minor and spend in a major way. There are no more excuses."

What Also Worked: Remember the days when Univision (pre-Televisa merger) emanated its annual Upfront event from a Broadway theater, with an opening Broadway-style musical number and company executives getting their spotlight moment? Whether yes or no, the Broadway pizzaz came back this year with "Viva Casa Cultura/Long Live Culture House," performed by the Revolution Latina troupe and staged with snap and gusto by Luis Salgado (In The Heights/On Your Feet). Towards the end, Speciale got her chance to sing and dance lively, plus drum it up with percussionist Manny Marquez.



What Can Work Here: Greater detail on long-term content development at the various channels, especially development of weekly and daily/nightly scripted series produced in the U.S. and featuring U.S. Latino talent on and off-camera. A subject way overdue for in-depth examination at TV industry conferences.

Data Points: Latinos make up 20 percent of the U.S. population and expected to spend $3.2 trillion on merchandise and services this year. A record 36 million Hispanic citizens are eligible to vote in the 2024 Presidential Election in November. TelevisaUnivision added 100 new advertisers to its roster last year, and more than 250 brands are using company-provided household graph charts (covering almost 100 percent of Spanish-speaking homes) to decide how much to spend.

News: Upcoming series attractions on Vix include Arcadia, a mystery/relationship drama set in the Canary Islands; content from Juanpa Zurita's Arco Entertainment venture, and Chiquis Sin Filtro/Chiquis Without Filters, documenting the media personality's career and personal life. Unimas will launch Vence a las Estrellas, a nightly game show pitting contestants against celebrity teams for a cash jackpot that can increase from episode to episode. Univision's annual Premio Lo Nuestro/Music Awards live special will create a three-day Latin music/culture festival in Miami next February, opening up new sponsorship options. And going forward, TelevisaUnivision will use big data exclusively (from Nielsen and Videoamp) to monitor viewership and other cultural touchpoints.

Bonus Points: Music superstar Shakira made an unbilled appearance during the presentation to announce the use of her song "Punteria" as the theme for Copa America 2024 soccer tournament coverage.A three-person mariachi band serenaded attendees' post-presentation while they networked, checked out exhibits on both floors and nibbled appetizers from Cuban sandwiches to Mexican street corn. Also, post-presentation, bilingual singer Becky G performed her tunes at a primetime concert.

Parting Words: "This industry has a real data problem. All minorities continue to be undercounted in the data. This is an outdated methodology…a discriminatory practice. Adoption of big data is much too slow." -Donna Speciale, TelevisaUnivision President of U.S. Advertising Sales and Marketing.

"It was so refreshing to walk onto a Premios stage and (show up) as my true authentic self. I felt so seen and represented." -Becky G, describing her performance at the recent Latin American Music Awards (carried live on Univision).

"No one can win without the Latino vote." -Noticias Univision co-anchorperson Jorge Ramos.

"No matter the genre or the platform, we are the destination for U.S. Hispanics." -Ignacio Meyer, Univision Networks Group President.

"I want to be a witness for how music transcends borders, communities and culture." -Shakira.

Photos courtesy of TelevisaUnivision.

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