In a departure from the norm of this year’s upfronts week, TelevisaUnivision’s presentation Tuesday morning at Pier 36 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side had no pick-challenging writers outside; no protesters; and no dramatic departures of executives or talent.
It was perhaps the only upfront of the week that was business as usual, with the WGA strike not affecting the company (which produces most of its Spanish-language programming in Mexico and Colombia), and a lack of corporate drama and intrigue.
Instead, there was a vote of confidence as executives touted a theme of “Young America,” pointing out that with the demographic changes in the country, much of that growth will come from Hispanics.
“We’re going to be 100 percent of the 18- to 34-year growth over the next five years, which is what customers are leaning towards,” Donna Speciale, TelevisaUnivision’s head of ad sales, told me. The Hollywood Reporter in an interview prior to the pre-presentation. “They look at that audience — which is a huge audience segment for them — that they’re leaning towards and they see that our audience is the one that’s going to take them there.”
“The Spanish public is now not a ‘nice to have’, you know, it’s needed, and it’s a ‘must have’,” adds Speciale. “Customers won’t grow their business in the long run without reaching this audience. So they can’t avoid it.”
On stage, the company brought out actors and telenovela stars Angelique Boyer and Sebastian Rulli and closed the show with a performance by “Despacito” musician Luis Fonsi. The company praised its news department with Jorge Ramos and Ilia Calderon; and its sports brand with its football deals and an agreement to broadcast the 2024 Super Bowl in Spanish.
The company praised its audience, who viewed it as an “economic powerhouse.”
And it was about measurement, with Speciale calling out Nielsen for under-measuring Hispanic households, but thanking them for making available a broader comprehensive dataset that more accurately measures viewership.
“We are leaning very strongly towards the holdings, talking to them one-on-one and saying to them that we think it is really necessary and important that we start now with those datasets because of the under-representation that has been going on for two decades with the Spanish public. stop,” said Speciale THR.
After the presentation, attendees shuffled to another room and enjoyed a lunch of empanadas, Cuban sandwiches, quesadillas, and other dishes as a salsa band performed.
It was all… normal. A typical upfront event, and given the week so far, this is probably the only one.