Univision: Simon Cowell, Carlos Santana Under One Tent

Spanish-language giant talks up ‘return on influence’

Why This Matters

STRATEGY: Univision is using its vast reach, including more than a dozen broadcast, cable and digital networks, and new digital-first production studio La Fabrica UCI to connect on all platforms.

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Univision’s operative word was influence as it greeted media buyers in New York May 13: The company’s influence on Hispanics, Hispanics’ influence on other Hispanics and the Hispanic community’s influence on the U.S. Showing off some of that influence, Univision brought Simon Cowell on stage to talk about a music-based reality program slated for 2015: La Banda, the search for “the ultimate Latino boy band.” In his trademark square-cut ’do, white T-shirt and jeans, Cowell said La Banda would only work on Univision. “We’re going to make 2015 a very special event,” he said.

TV’s notoriously harsh performance critic might have had some unkind words for Steve Mandala, Univision executive VP of sales, who kicked off the proceedings with a little song and dance of his own, fronting a bevy of dancers as he delivered a rap titled “Talk Spanish to Me.” Mandala offered his own critique, smiling as he copped to “complete selfhumiliation.”

Other execs taking the stage included Keith Turner, president of ad sales; Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Univision Deportes president; Tonia O’Connor, president of content distribution; Isaac Lee, president of news; and Alberto Ciurana, president of programming.

Rodriguez revealed Univision’s exclusive Spanishlanguage rights for the next eight years to the U.S. men’s soccer team’s home matches; the Spanishlanguage rights to MLS for the next eight years; and exclusive rights to Copa America Centenario. He saluted U.S. soccer star Clint Dempsey in the audience, calling him “a nightmare” for the Mexican team.

O’Connor unveiled the video site Flama (TheFlama.com), describing it as “focused on this mobilefirst generation.” Lee announced four quarterly investigative specials on UniMás under the title Entre Lineas, citing “the kinds of stories not usually told about our country and our culture.”

Ciurana introduced a batch of new dramas for both UniMás and Univision, including La Gata and Hasta El Fin Del Mundo, the latter about a sultry chocolatier; Mi Corazon Es Tuyo and La Malquerida arrive later in the season.

“Univision is the one company that can offer advertisers the transmedia solutions to engage deeply with Hispanic consumers and build the lasting relationships that will move the needle for their brands,” said Randy Falco, president and CEO. “We are Hispanic America’s most trusted media source and are everywhere our audience is.”

Carlos Santana came out to end things on a high note, delivering a stirring version of “Oye Como Va.”