One of the biggest players in Hispanic media is turning up the volume on its audio with fresh branding and a realignment of some of its best assets. Univision Communications is relaunching its audio assets as the Uforia Audio Network, named for its Uforia Musica app. The new branding will play out on all of the company’s 58 local radio stations, 89 affiliates, digital audio, podcasts and live music events.
So, why would a company with such a rich history in radio and music launch a brand under any name other than Univision? President of Univision Radio Jesus Lara said the Uforia moniker (with a U from Univision in there!) allows the company to tap into its brand equity and relationships with Hispanics while also uniting local stations, digital media and music under one cohesive umbrella that can offer listeners and brands new opportunities.
“Across digital, brands tend to become highly fragmented,” Lara explained. “We felt that in order for us to best represent our entire portfolio, at both the local and national level, we needed to have a unifying brand.”
As part of the Uforia Audio Network launch, Univision is refreshing the mobile app and adding new features for listeners and advertisers. Recently, Uforia announced an audio innovation partnership with Napster and unveiled a newly enhanced and redesigned Uforia app that is “Powered by Napster,” creating a more personalized streaming experience. Along with live station streams and expansive playlists, this spring Univision plans to add its podcasts to the app. In recent months, Univision has made podcasts a top priority, partnering with podcast producer reVolver to create shows as well as producing originals with its own talent. “We’re very bullish on podcasts,” Lara said. “Podcasting is going to give our overall audio strategy a boost.”
Across its markets, Univision is encouraging its local and network radio and TV to create podcasts that align with their interests. Uforia will showcase those efforts. “Podcasting allows a lot of our talent to go deep into content verticals that they may not be able to expand on linear radio,” Lara noted.
Radio reaches 96% of Hispanics weekly, giving Uforia a large platform to start. Univision’s radio properties reach about 14.5 million listeners a week, while another 2.2 million Hispanics listen to its digital platforms, the company says. With U.S. Hispanics representing 27 different nationalities, Lara said creating the Uforia Audio Network allows Univision to expand its content offerings and appeal to more listeners than it can on AM/FM radio. On the Uforia app, for instance, Lara said the company can be a little more experimental with formats and new artists without disrupting the venerable Univision brand. “On linear radio, we have four primary buckets: regional Mexican, Latin pop, AC and a few English language stations. But, on Uforia, we can create playlists of Latin jazz or Latin rock or new artists,” he explained. “The constraints in programming disappear on an app like Uforia, giving us the opportunity to showcase developing and emerging artists.”
To burnish the Uforia brand, this summer Univision is staging star-studded “Uforia Music Series” concerts in seven cities. “In order to have a proper brand and music strategy, we needed to incorporate live events,” Lara explained, noting that Hispanics over-index on spending on live concerts. This year’s events include both established artists, like Banda MS, J Balvin and Karol G, as well as emerging stars including Rauw Alejandro and Alex Fernandez.
While the Uforia mobile app has been available since 2013, Lara acknowledges it will take time for the expanded brand to take root. To communicate the changes to consumers, Univision is rolling out a multi-platform marketing campaign across radio, digital and its events. For added exposure, Lara’s team is also working closely with Univision’s local radio and TV stations to create segments spotlighting Uforia.
“Whenever we have access to a compelling music entertainment story, we’ll be producing [it] and making it available to the local news teams,” he said. (While they embrace the Uforia tie-ins, Univision’s radio stations aren’t giving up their own local branding on-air, online and at events.)
At the same time, Univision sellers are actively communicating new opportunities to the advertising community. On the relaunched app, marketers will be able to choose from an expanded menu of ad solutions, including digital audio inventory and pre-roll video, and choose from audio inventory, pre-roll video and sponsorships and takeovers. Brand campaigns could be tied to a market, a station or a playlist.
The new app advertising capabilities are just a piece of Uforia’s capabilities, Lara said. The Uforia Audio Network offers advertisers a wide menu of audio, including podcasting, radio, live events or music-related content on local and network TV. The variety is designed to attract more small and mid-sized advertisers and, in theory, to draw more ad dollars overall.
“With all these consumer touchpoints across our platforms, we can create bespoke solutions for any marketer,” Lara concluded. “Anyone who wants to play in the Latin music space or speak to Hispanics, we can find a solution for them that meets their needs.”
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