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Univision Makes Engagement Pitch

May 16, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Univision unveiled new shows including a Spanish-language version of “Desperate Housewives,” as well as a Jennifer Lopez project, to woo advertisers attending the No. 1-rated Spanish-language network’s upfront presentation.
Univision CEO Joe Uva and Chief Operating Officer Ray Rodriguez pushed hard on the theme that their network is better at engaging its audience than both the English-language competition and Telemundo, its Spanish-language rival.
At a Wednesday presentation to ad buyers at the Time Warner Center in New York, Univision and corporate siblings TeleFutura and Galavision touted their ability to reach more viewers than their Spanish-language competition. Univision also regularly outdraws at least one U.S. English-language network in prime time among 18- to 34-year-olds.
Univision, which was purchased this year by a group of private investors including media magnate Haim Saban for $13.7 billion in cash and debt, is depending on its new shows for both ratings and business leverage, Mr. Uva said in a press conference following the presentation.
He said a successful slate would help him in negotiations to wrest money from cable system operators who retransmit Univision stations’ signals. Univision wants to generate $1 per subscriber for its signals, he said. He identified other priorities as extending Univision’s digital reach and enhancing the network’s public service campaigns.
In 2007-08, the network will roll out four new telenovelas, seven fresh series, two comedies and a special on the Virgin of Guadalupe.
In the telenovela genre, Univision is fielding “Pasion,” set in the pirate era; “Muchachitas Como Tu;” centering on issues that girls face; “Amar sin Limites,” about the power of love; and “Yo Amo a Juan Querendon,” the story of an unlikely Don Juan.
New series include “Como Ama una Mujer,” the miniseries with Ms. Lopez; “Amas de Casa Desesperadas,” a Spanish-language version of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”; “RBD: La Familia,” a behind-the-scenes look at recording group RBD; crime-fighter action series “El Pantera”; “13 Miedos,” a series of suspense stories; “Objetos Perdidos,” a comedy set in a warehouse filled with lost objects; and “S.O.S.-Sexo y Otros Secretos,” a drama series about five Latin women.
Univision also is rolling out the motion picture “Guadalupe,” as well as comedies “Una Familia de Diez,” about an extended family in a two-bedroom apartment and “Y ahora … Que Hago?,” a behind-the-scenes look at the life of comedian Adal Ramones.
The presentation at the Time Warner Center kicked off with comedian Andrew Kennedy riffing on his mixed Colombian-English heritage and Anglos’ attempts to speak Spanish.
Mr. Uva, who joined Univision in April after running ad agency OMD, also worked the cross-cultural comedy vein. After an introduction that noted he had just spent six weeks in a Berlitz course, Mr. Uva tested his rudimentary Spanish on the crowd, introducing himself and helpfully telling the audience he had on a black jacket.
Part of Univision’s engagement pitch put fans onstage who had contributed user-generated clips about their devotion to the network. The network upped the entertainment ante throughout the presentation, including a taped video from Major League Soccer star David Beckham, a live appearance by Ms. Lopez and a three-song salsa set by her singer husband, Marc Anthony.
(Editor: Horowitz)

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