Univision unveils three new networks at upfront


Univision Communications unveiled its 2011-2012 programming lineup (including Univision, Galavision and ReleFutura) 5/19 at the New Amsterdam Theater in NYC. The presentation was headed by Univision President Cesar Conde and included President of Ad Sales and Marketing David Lawenda and Univision EVP/COO Randy Falco. Univision Chairman Haim Saban was also in attendance. Now that Televisa has an ownership stake in the company, its content will have a larger presence across all television and interactive platforms. That includes and new original productions and three new networks: UniNovelas (built around telenovelas) to launch in Q3; Univision Deportes, a new sports channel focusing on Mexican league soccer readied for the first half of 2012; and a 24-hour news network in Spanish, Univision 24-7.

With nearly 500 hours of new original productions scheduled for primetime and late night, the presentation underscored how its enhanced partnership with Televisa is creating powerful new cross-platform branding and integration opportunities that have not existed until now.

“Recognizing the power of the burgeoning Hispanic consumer base, Univision is investing in expanding our content across all media platforms with both traditional distributors as well as online and mobile video providers. Today we are expanding our already robust slate of original programming by unveiling nearly 500 hours of new original productions in primetime and late night, innovative series and specials,” said Conde. “We have also expanded our partnership with Televisa, and other leading Spanish-language producers in the world, to deliver the content Hispanic America seeks via Univision’s multiple outlets and services. In addition, the upcoming launches of Sports, Novela and News networks will further deliver culturally-relevant, proven content to our audiences.”

The team highlighted that it has recently bested both Telemundo and NBC among young viewers. Said Conde: “Recently, Univision had the peacock network seeing red when we surpassed NBC for three weeks to be ranked as the number four network in America regardless of language not just among adults 18-34, but also among 18-49-year-olds.”

Saturday night fixture “Sabado Gigante” will return for a 50th season. Univision is ramping up its programming with more original shows from Univision Studios, including a second Univision-produced novela starring popular actress, Blanca Soto, from the first Univision-produced novela “Eva Luna.” The new novela will be set in the US.

Univision will also air three Televisa novelas. “Two Homes” is about a woman whose beloved husband has an apparently fatal accident and vanishes, but reappears with amnesia soon after she remarries.

In “A Fortunate Family”, a kindly socialite with a fatal disease disowns her relatives in favor of a stranger in a run-down truck who saves her from jumping off a bridge.

In partnership with Televisa, Univision is extending its morning programming to five hours by airing Televisa’s own morning show “Hoy” (“Today”) after Univision’s long-running “Despierta America” (“Wake Up America”).

Univision also announced three new reality shows: a Televisa contest to find the best child entertainers called “Little Giants”; “Novela Stars,” a competition to pick future telenovela talent; and a Spanish-language version of “The Biggest Loser” featuring Hispanic families on a weight-loss challenge.

With the highest ratings ever achieved in Q1, Univison’s Galavision network was touted as the continuing #1 cable television network in Spanish in the nation. TeleFutura holds the # 2 spot among Spanish-language television.

Stars at the presentation included Lucero (a Mexican pop music singer), who opened the show: “Nothing is bigger than the relationship between Univision and Televisa. The two companies will be working more closely together.”

William Levy (star on “Triunfo del Amor”) appeared in a funny skit with Lawenda who portrayed his Siamese twin. Singer Pitbull ended the Univision upfront show with a performance.