A NOTABLE EXAMPLE of the power of
multiplatform television occurred this
fall in the run-up to the elections, with Univision’s
Meet the Candidate forum in September.
Upset with the Commission on Presidential
Debates’ decision not to include a moderator
from a minority group, Univision broadcast
separate forums with each of the candidates
in primetime on Univision and streamed
them live in English over the company’s expanding
“We used every part of our distribution to first promote [the forums] and then to carry
it,” notes Randy Falco, president and CEO of
Univision Communications. “It was a milestone
Cesar Conde, president of the Univision
Networks, says, “We were able to bring all the
election coverage across all platforms to a community
that was hungry for information and
on Election Day helped elect the president.”
The candidate forum is one of many examples
of Univision’s efforts to expand its programming on TV, online, social media and
mobile that led to the company being named
the 2012 B&C Multiplatform Broadcaster of
Making more content available on more devices
is crucial for all broadcasters, but it is
particularly important for Univision. The company’s
rapidly growing Hispanic target audience
skews younger than the general population
and is much more active on digital media.
The average Univision viewer is 38, versus
39 for The CW, 46 for Fox and 50 for NBC,
according to Nielsen. Likewise, about 70% of
all Hispanics have a smartphone, compared
with 54% of non-Hispanics, and 41% stream
video on their phones, compared with about 28% of non-Hispanics, according to Nielsen.
“With an audience that over-indexes on
new technology, we felt that the new emerging
media landscape was one that Univision
could take great advantage of,” Falco notes.
“As the audience fragments, we wanted to
make sure that there was a Univision-branded
piece of content available no matter where
our audience was consuming content.”
Over the last 18 months, Falco notes, Univision
has increased its linear channels from
two broadcast networks and one cable network
to 12 linear channels. It also expanded
the number of digital subchannels using its
broadcast spectrum to 30 with the recent
deal to carry the African-American-targeted
Bounce TV network.
In the digital arena, Univision launched an
ambitious UVideos digital platform that provides
content from all its networks to computers,
smartphones, tablets, the Xbox 360
gaming platform, and other Internet-connected
devices. And Univision has been aggressively
cutting TV Everywhere deals with
operators that make large amounts of content
available to authenticated subscribers.
Univision has also pushed to better target
the diversity of the Hispanic community by
offering both Spanish- and English-language
content. In 2013, these efforts will expand
further as part of a joint venture with ABC
News to launch a cable news channel.
Univision’s ratings are healthy. At a time
when ABC, CBS and Fox saw declines in the
November sweeps, Univision’s TV ratings
were up by 2%. Meanwhile, digital video
streams across Univision Interactive were up
55% to 255 million in the first 11 months of
Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive
Media and enterprise development
at the company, expects digital traffic to continue
to grow in 2013 as users become more
aware of the UVideos digital channel and the
company continues to ramp up the amount
of content it offers.
For example, the large Mexican broadcaster
Televisa, which has long supplied the primetime
programming that has been so crucial
to Univision’s success on television, is now
working with Univision on Web extras to
help promote its big novelas and on Webonly
content, Conroy notes.
Univision is also working with its programming
partners to develop broadband channels
for YouTube. “We have done four Web
novelas so far and expect to do more in the
future,” Conroy says.
Additionally, the company has been expanding
its digital offerings as part of a larger
TV Everywhere strategy.
“We built UVideos from the ground up
as a TV Everywhere, authenticated service,”
notes Tonia O’Connor, president of distribution
sales and marketing at the company, who
has cut TV Everywhere deals with Dish, Cablevision,
AT&T’s U-verse and Verizon’s FiOS.
As part of a deal with U-verse, Univision
is even offering live streams of the broadcast
network in the home to Internet-connected
devices. In the future, the company is planning
to make that content available outside
of the home.
“I think we are the only broadcast network
to do that,” Falco says, adding that live sporting
events will be particularly popular.