TelevisaUnivision Projects Confidence in Upfront Push

In a break from the norm of this year’s upfronts week, TelevisaUnivision’s presentation Tuesday morning at Pier 36 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan had no picketing writers outside; no protesters; and no dramatic executive or talent departures.

It was perhaps the only upfront of the week to be business as usual, with the WGA strike not impacting the company (which produces most of its Spanish-language programming in Mexico and Colombia), and a lack of corporate drama and intrigue.

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In its place was a show of confidence, as executives touted a theme of “Young America,” noting that with the demographic changes in the country, much of that growth will come from Hispanics.

“We will be 100 percent of the 18 to 34 year old growth over the next five years, that’s what clients are leaning into,” TelevisaUnivision ad sales chief Donna Speciale told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview ahead of its upfront presentation. “They’re looking at that audience — which is a huge audience segment for them — that they’ve been leaning into and they see that our audience is the one that’s going to take them there.”

“Hispanic audiences now are not a ‘nice to have,’ you know, it’s needed, and it’s a ‘must have,’” Speciale adds. “Clients long-term will not grow their business without reaching this audience. So they can’t ignore it.”

Onstage, the company brought out actors and telenovela stars Angelique Boyer and Sebastian Rulli, and closed out the show with a performance by “Despacito” musician Luis Fonsi. The company touted its news division with Jorge Ramos and Ilia Calderon; and its sports brand with its soccer deals and an agreement to televise the 2024 Super Bowl in Spanish.

The company touted its audience, which it deemed an “economic powerhouse.”

And it addressed measurement, with Speciale calling out Nielsen for under measuring Spanish-language households, but thanking them for making a wider expanded data set available that more accurately measures the viewership.

“We are leaning in really strong with the holding companies, talking to them one on one and saying to them that we really think it’s imperative and important that we start now with those datasets because the underrepresentation that’s been going on with Hispanic audiences for two decades has got to stop,” Speciale told THR.

After the presentation attendees shuffled into another room and enjoyed a lunch of empanadas, Cuban sandwiches, quesadillas and other dishes while a salsa band performed.

It was all … normal. A typical upfront event, and given the week so far, it’s likely to be the only one.

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