Univision's Upfront: Powerful Messaging About the Latino Marketplace

By Upfronts/NewFronts Archives
Cover image for  article: Univision's Upfront: Powerful Messaging About the Latino Marketplace

For years, Univision's New York Upfront event, staged inside Broadway theaters, was one of the season's showstoppers. Razzle-dazzle production values mixed well with executive and on-air talent appearances, a fun attitude (even with the requisite ad sales pitch) and knockout closing musical performance from the likes of Shakira or Marc Anthony. This time around, the Spanish-language media colossus subdued the dazzle, while giving more time over to new initiatives, including mega-content venture Prende TV.

The Big Message: It's time for far more advertisers to address the U.S. Latino marketplace with Spanish-language commercials and campaigns, now that Latinos number 64 million strong and make up nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. citizenry. Count on Univision to run a few extra miles to engage sponsors, creating a new studio, constructing a data graph on Latino consumer trends and opening addressable options, starting with a beta test later this year on Vizio's smart TV sets.

Host: A tag-team approach between Donna Speciale (pictured at top), Univision's president of ad sales and marketing, and Luis Silberwasser (below), Univision TV Network Group president. Appearing separately and together, the twosome handled their presentations naturally, not letting their passion for their organization go overboard.

What Worked: Turning major portions of each segment over to remarks from on-camera talent. Whether from key nightly news anchorperson Jorge Ramos or an actress from Russia working on a telenovela, viewers of this virtual presentation had a ground-level view of what makes Univision, UniMas or TUDN content tick. It was a refreshing departure from recent company showcases.

What Also Worked: Joining the group of 2021 Upfront/NewFront presenters who have been giving viewers additional content to look at post-presentation. In this instance they were referred to as "passion portals," and they included news, sports, music and general entertainment programs, plus one for Prende TV. Another plus: Journalists had an opportunity in Spanish or English to question Speciale and Silberwasser immediately after the presentation. It was a great opportunity to follow up on what was featured or explore what was not and why. We learned here that since Univision's special pre-Upfront virtual turn earlier this spring, when Speciale challenged advertisers not involved in Spanish-language campaigns to transform their attitude and dive in, more than 80 brands have done exactly that! "We're making big headway, and there's a lot more to come," Speciale declared.

What Didn't Work: Not having a musical performance at the end.  Here's to that feature coming back, in-person for all to see, next spring.

Data Points: Latinos account for $2.6 trillion in annual consumer spending right now and will account for 54 percent of total U.S. population growth between now and the end of 2025.

Prende TV now offers more than 30,000 hours of content and 50 linear channels, available to more than one million active users via smart TV sets and devices. On average, users watch two hours a day. Look for more linear channels to be added during the 2021-22 season, including a 24-hour Univision News network (coming first quarter 2022).

Univision and sister broadcast network UniMas will present more than 2,500 hours of original programming this summer through next spring. New Univision scripted series include drama Vencer el Pasado(Overcoming the Past), dramedy Soitero con Hijas(Single with Kids) and a reboot of popular 1990s weekly sitcom Dr. Candido Perez. UniMas' lineup of newcomers features unscripted competition Desafir the Box (Challenge the Box).

Two other projects will involve Univision News resources: a new Sunday morning edition of long-running morning program Despierta America (Wake Up America) coming this fall and UniVisionarios (Univision Visionaries), a year-long celebration of Latino innovators, concluding with a two-hour special in September 2022.

Another special event will come next summer to all-sports network TUDN. Mega-Fest will combine music and soccer in a series of events from Los Angeles.

Parting Words: "We're not just a movement. Weare the movement." -- Jessica Rodriguez, Univision president of entertainment and chief marketing officer

"You will not be able to grow your business unless you advertise to the U.S. Hispanic community in-language and in-culture." -- Donna Speciale

"We have the stories that unite us as a family, a city and a country." -- Luis Silberwasser

"We've been in the good, the bad, the sad and the joy." -- Univision News anchorperson Maria Antonieta Collins, discussing coverage of Latinos in the face of the coronavirus pandemic

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