Reaching the growing Spanish-language audience means much more than telenovelas these days. Luis Silberwasser, President of Univision Television Networks Group, shares his insights on creating and curating content that has impact.
Tell about the Spanish-language audience and how it might be changing.
The U.S. Hispanic audience is over 60 million strong and represents nearly 20% of the country’s population. It is a growing audience that is powering U.S. economic growth and impacting our politics, music, culture, and who we are as a nation.
So, given this growth and impact, I think the real question we need to ask is how is the industry evolving to speak to them? Spanish is the second most spoken language in the US, as well as across the globe. Media companies and consumer brands alike are recognizing the sizeable opportunity, and therefore we are starting to see more content options and new brands wanting to reach this segment.
Univision has been focused on this audience for more than 60 years providing trusted news, the best in sports and must-see entertainment programming, always in-language, in context, and in-culture. You see, Univision is not a mirror of a general-market broadcast network that happens to be in Spanish. On the contrary, we are creating, and curating our programming especially for our demographic. It is how we’ve been able to develop a unique and enviable connection to the Hispanic audience, and why we understand better than any other media company the importance of speaking in a way that resonates best. It is exciting to be at the epicenter of such an important evolution, and I look forward to seeing how the industry continues to recognize the value of our audience and our special role in helping reach them
How is your programming adapting?
We are constantly ideating new formats and ways to inform and entertain our audience, always building on the content filters that have resonated with our audience. Once again, we’ve seen this broadcast season that Hispanics turn to Univision more than any other TV network—it’s a privilege to be at the top and it is important that we continue to appeal to our core audience, while we also pursue growth.
The Univision audience tunes in for live soccer, news, and entertainment programming. Even for our scripted dramas, we enjoy the highest live viewership of any broadcast network. That tells you our audience is loyal, passionate and engaged, so we are focused on delivering new programming that meets that energy. It is why we are doubling down on impactful tentpole events with the launch of “UniVisionarios” and “TUDN Mega-Fest.” Bringing Hispanics together through big, live, culturally relevant programming events continues to be at the center of everything we do.
Our new AVOD service PrendeTV represents a massive opportunity for us, serving as a complement to our linear offerings. Viewing habits are evolving, and with our audience already outpacing non-Hispanics in consumption of streaming content, it was a strategic next step in our company transformation. It is the first and only free, premium streaming service developed for the US Hispanic audience, offering viewers more options and access to a broader range of genres, and recently added more programming, including live sports and news. The service is already at 1 million subscribers and we expect to reach 5 million by end-of-year.
How do you see the network evolving in the future?
We are in the midst of a company-wide transformation. Univision is an iconic brand, a ratings leader for 29 years and counting, with a fantastic portfolio of networks that remain a core part of the company’s offering, new content investments, and go-forward strategy. It is where we reach the broadest audience with live news, sports, and entertainment programming.
The company is also laser focused on innovation and growth, which is why in only a few short months under the leadership of our CEO Wade Davis, we launched PrendeTV and acquired VIX, helping us build the largest ad-supported video on demand streaming platform reaching Spanish speaking audiences in the US and Latin America, and announced our merger with Televisa.
The deal with Televisa in particular is exciting to me. While we have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with them, the deal formally brings together the content studios, networks, streaming, and digital ecosystems into a single global company with unmatched reach, producing countless hours of new content for all our linear and streaming platforms. The consolidated collaboration will allow for the joint development of new content and, in my view, an unrivaled product offering for Spanish-language audiences worldwide.