NEW YORK — It’s no surprise that Univision Communications has a renewed sense of energy and, to some extent, confidence. With talk of an initial public offering in its past, along with its flirtation with millennial-focused digital media assets brought into the fold by former Chief Content Officer Isaac Lee, Univision is positioning itself as “America’s Hispanic Superbrand.”
That said, Univision is making big changes at two of its assets — its “junior” broadcast TV network, and its MVPD-distributed sports network.
In opening Univision’s second of two upfront presentations attended by advertisers and clients, Sadusky talked of how the company’s cultural connection — and not data alone — have helped to define the company as one that can allow marketers to have a direct link to Hispanic consumers.
With “in-culture” DNA, Sadusky noted Univision has worked hard to “reach people’s hearts.” This was supported by data points offered by President of Ad Sales and Marketing Steve Mandala, who talked about Univision Brand Labs — an in-house ad effectiveness division.
It is one reason why Sadusky is confident Univision “will accelerate your brand’s growth,” as part of a refocused and solidified mission to entertain Hispanic America.
Meanwhile, Mandala pointed to data that show “Hispanic adults like ads on Univision three times more than on English-language TV.”
The big takeaways from Univision’s Upfront, as announced on May 7, were the launch of a new national 10pm newscast under the Univision Noticias brand, helmed by Patricia Janiot and Enrique Acevedo; and a rebranding of the Univision Deportes Network to TUDN.
The sports refresh reflects a new, closer partnership with Televisa.
It also shows just how important programming partner Televisa still is to Univision. With FCC ownership rules now allowing greater foreign investment, the move could presage a bigger domestic play for Televisa in the coming years.
Univision CMO and President of Entertainment Jessica Rodriguez shared that UniMás is also doubling-down on sports, reality-styled programming and entertainment. This includes the “ultimate live marriage reality show” Enamorándos.
At Univision, one original prime-time show was a focal point for Rodriguez: El Dragón, which is produced by Televisa Studios President Patricio Wills and created by Spaniard Arturo Perez-Reverte. “It is an action-packed drama of epic proportion led by Sebastian Rulli,” Rodriguez said.
Concurrently, Univision is turning back time and offering a “reimagining” of classic telenovelas as part of “The Collection.” Rodriguez says this will offer viewers “timeless stories for a new generation.”
To be clear, these are not remakes but “brand-new reimaginations of those classic novelas,” Rodriguez explained. For a re-do of Cuña de Lobos, noted Spanish actress Paz Vega is being brought on to helm the new take on the series.
Also shared by Rodriguez: 25-episode arcs are being brought to its telenovelas, with shorter series taking a page from OTT growth — but, she suggested, also how social media is driving conversation about the shows U.S. Hispanics are viewing on Spanish-language television.
Lastly, the search for the next big Latina music star will be conducted on the reality show Reina de la Canción. The co-host is Puerto Rican rising star Pedro Capó. Just announced as Executive Producer: Daddy Yankee.