Univision Ready to Reel in the Dinero

Road to the Upfront

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- With the annual TV market selling event kicking off next week, Advertising Age takes a look at how Univision, the largest Hispanic TV player, will position for 2006-2007 TV season.
Univision is the largest U.S. Hispanic TV company with media properties that reach more than 90% of the U.S. Hispanic population.
Univision is the largest U.S. Hispanic TV company with media properties that reach more than 90% of the U.S. Hispanic population.

THE PLAYER: Univision (Univision, TeleFutura and cable network Galavision)

KEY EXECUTIVES: Tom McGarrity and Dennis McCauley, co-presidents, Univision Network Sales

THE RATINGS GAME: "Univision now consistently ranks as one of the nation's top four networks, having out-delivered the audiences of ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox on half of all nights in the quarter among adults 18-34," said Ray Rodriguez, Univision's president-chief operating officer, last week while reporting Univision's first-quarter results.

Univision is benefiting from the inclusion of Spanish-language TV networks for the first time in Nielsen's National Television Index. Univision reports that during the first full quarter as part of the NTI, it was the fifth most-watched network in the U.S. in prime time among all adults 18 to 24, 18 to 34 and 18 to 49.

The lineup is anchored by Univision's nightly telenovelas, mainstays like 20-year-old "Sabado Gigante" and the new hit dance competition "Bailando por un Sueno" ("Dancing for a Dream"). Through July, all three Univision networks will run World Cup games and related programming.

WHAT YOU'LL LIKELY HEAR: Although the industry buzz is all about who will buy Univision, on the block since February, Univision execs won't go there, and are more likely to focus on programming and its strong ratings performance.

LAST YEAR'S UPFRONT: Analysts estimate that Univision took more than $900 million of a Spanish-language upfront of about $1.1 billion. In 2005, Univision-owned networks accounted for $1.8 billion of the total $2.6 billion spent on Spanish-language TV, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Rival Telemundo, owned by NBC Universal, accounted for about $856 million.

THE BUYER'S VERDICT: Ken Deutsch, principal-media director, Grupo Gallegos, is not concerned about Univision's impending sale. "Being up for sale and going into the upfront are not the same sort of things; They're two mutually exclusive items," he said. "Univision does well every year in the upfront and that's not going to change."
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