TelevisaUnivision Points To Upfront Ad, Measurement Gains, But Needs More

Touting major year-long success in bringing more marketers to the TelevisaUnivision platform, Donna Speciale, president of U.S. advertising sales and marketing for the Spanish-language TV/media company, says the business needs to move further.

One area of particular focus is measurement changes Nielsen is currently making to revamp its system, which has undercounted Spanish-language audiences for years.

“We are talking to each holding company one by one, letting them know we want to do business on [Nielsen's] 'Panel' plus 'Big Data' for standard demographics,” Speciale tells Television News Daily.

That effort -- which is still technically in its preliminary stages but set to start up officially in September -- helps all TV networks, particularly multicultural legacy TV networks.

The "Big Data" piece covers more than 45 million households and more than 75 million devices.



Data integrations with Nielsen come from Comcast Corp., Roku, Vizio, Dish Network, and DirectTV. 

Nielsen's longtime "Panel" -- a "truth set," according to the company, in recent years has averaged 40,000 U.S. homes. But marketers and TV networks say it is way past its effectiveness.

“I was not happy it did not change going to Panel plus Big Data last year. It cannot allow that to happen anymore,” says Speciale.

This year, in addition to primarily using Big Data/panel data for deal-making, Speciale  adds that TelevisaUnivision will also use VideoAmp for advanced advertising segments.

Speciale says there has been some slow and positive changes; during last year’s upfront market, she did some Big Data/Panel advertising deals.

Speaking more broadly, she adds: “Marketers now know culture is driving all consumer behavior. Think of 2024 as us putting culture ahead of everything we do. We are a media platform. But think of us as a cultural platform.”

This means Speciale should think about TelevisaUnivision differently when it comes to other media companies as it revolves around entertainment, sports, and news programming.

TelevisaUnivision's upfront event is called  “Casa Cultura.”

Positive results for the company come from its now two-year-old ViX streaming platform business doing more -- now with 50 million monthly active users (vs. 30 million a year ago) and 70% U.S. engagement growth year-over-year.

On May 15, ViX will launch its third tier -- a limited advertising-supported option -- adding to its free, advertising-supported and ad-free subscription options.

Examining the marketplace, Speciale is not concerned about new streaming competition possibly flooding the market with more ad inventory -- especially from providers such as Amazon Prime Video.

“For us, streaming is definitely competitive, it is where consumers are going. But for us, we are different. We are all Spanish-language, serving the community.”

Nielsen measurement changes under its Big Data/Panel effort are making a difference. “It's huge,” says Speciale, “generating a 15% to 20% lift,” especially for its entertainment programming.

In contrast, she notes: ”English-language [networks] don't see the lift multicultural gets.”

Nielsen says its Big Data-Panel has seen overall general, broad TV network viewership gains of 4% to 5%.

But there is a long way to go.  “Hispanics being 20% of the population; we are still only receiving 2% of the media investment,” says Speciale. “That's not a fair share.” 

When it comes to the company's growth, marketers themselves are making changes. 

For its Spanish-speaking households, Speciale now says over 250 brands have activated around TelevisaUnivision first-party household identity graph. Overall, for standard TV advertising deal-making, the company has added another 100 advertising clients to its roster.

And though the overall market seems to be somewhat softer currently, Speciale says the Spanish-language TV market is good. “For us our linear business is viable and strong... So we are chipping away at this.”

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