Univision: Come to Where the Ratings Are

Apr 25, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Rising ratings are rising ratings in any language.

So says Dennis McCauley, co-president of Univision Network Sales, who contends that if ratings were the only issue, more advertisers would be flocking to his networks-Univision, Galavision and Telefutura.

“It’s one thing to try to explain programming they don’t watch and don’t understand,” Mr. McCauley said. “It’s another to let them look at the ratings.” If he didn’t tell them it was a Spanish-language programmer, a network with Univision’s ratings and growth would be on more buy lists.

At the same time broadcasters are flat in the hard-to-reach demographic of 18- to 34-year-olds and cable is up 7 percent with Univision’s networks showing a 36 percent jump in impressions.

And on some nights this year, Univision’s networks have had higher ratings among 18- to 34-year-olds than any of the broadcast networks. Mr. McCauley said that when he presents that statistic to ad buyers, they assume he means among Spanish-speaking viewers. But he means among all viewers.

The statistic also counters a stereotype that the Univision viewer is old and unacculturated. “They’re young, in schools and watching us,” Mr. McCauley said.

Spanish-language television is one of the fastest-growing media segments. Last year, the Spanish-language broadcasters took in $1.2 billion in the upfront, with some analysts predicting more than 20 percent growth next year.

Univision, which has about a 20 percent share of the market, will absorb the lion’s share of that increase, especially with the network carrying soccer’s World Cup in June and July 2006.

“Our viewership is up 22 percent among adults 18 to 49 in prime time and we expect upfront sales to capitalize on that growth,” he said.

Univision will be selling time that remains in its World Cup coverage during the upfront. It has already sold major sponsorships to companies including Miller Beer.

Univision’s biggest rival is Telemundo, owned by NBC Universal.

Mr. McCauley said the growth is partly driven by more advertisers finding the Hispanic market for their brands.

According to Mr. McCauley, 46 of the top 50 advertisers and 81 of the top 100 are Univision clients. But only 151 of the top 300 are clients. He sees that as an opportunity.

At the same time, the companies that are advertising on Univision still have many brands that are not marketing to the Hispanic market.

“If we stopped selling Spanish-language television today, everyone will have to find it in five to seven years,” he said. “Our goal is to help them find it now.”

Univision will hold its upfront at lunchtime on May 18, just before CBS’s presentation at Carnegie Hall. In fact, Univision will offer bus service to ensure that ad buyers who attend its presentation can get to CBS easily. (Telemundo’s upfront is the previous day, sharing the date with ABC.)

Mr. McCauley said he likes the idea that the Spanish broadcasters’ upfront is held at the same time as their English-language counterparts.

“We think we’re a great alternative,” he said. “We have growing ratings and more modest CPMs in prime time.” He estimated that for prime, a show on Univision costs about 70 to 75 percent of English-language broadcast.

Like other giant media companies, Univision offers a multiplatform buy, in addition to its multinetwork buys. (While most advertisers buy spots on all three networks, each is available for sale separately.) Univision has local stations, a radio network and a top-viewed Web site.