TelevisaUnivision Leans on “Cultura” at Upfront

TelevisaUnivision, the Spanish-language media giant, took a different approach to its upfront this year, turning the west side’s HK Hall into what the company called “Casa Cultura,” a venue that celebrates Latin and Hispanic culture, through food, music, entertainment and more.

The company, led by CEO Wade Davis, leaned on that message in a brief afternoon presentation to advertisers and media buyers (later that evening, the company brought in music star Becky G to lead a performance).

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“I wanted to really have our marketers and audience feel it, versus me just kind of standing on stage and showing a video of stuff that we usually do,” TelevisaUnivision ad sales chief Donna Speciale told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “I feel like the interaction between the sports, the music, news or political, what’s going on in our newsrooms, Vix, streaming, the explosion of a streaming, all of that is going to be felt within our walls and the presentation and everything is basically ‘we are a culture platform.’ And that’s our distinction between us and every other media company, and no other media company can make that statement. That’s where we’re coming from.”

The ad-supported tier of the company’s premium streaming platform, ViX, launched May 15, and it says it now has 50 million monthly active users.

TelevisaUnivision also leaned into music, launching Sistema Uforia, a music platform connecting brands to the company’s music touchpoints, and hosting Shakira, who announced that her song “Puntería” would be the official song of the company’s Copa America coverage.

“We’re putting culture front and center because it is the #1 driver of consumer behavior. And it’s Latin culture that is writing mainstream culture today in the United States,” Speciale told the crowd, noting the influence of Latinos on elections and business. “Brands can only win when they are relevant in the culture that surrounds them.”

“To be successful, your strategy needs to be consistent. And it needs to be authentic. It’s definitely not going to come from a one-off investment during Hispanic Heritage Month, or an isolated campaign with a Latino celebrity here and there,” Speciale continued. “Because the brands that commit to our audience consistently and authentically in culture are killing it There are more every day, with another 100 clients on board in just this last year. But, there are still so many who need to step it up. Hispanics are 20 percent of the population, but receive only 2 percent of your media investment on average.”

TelevisaUnivision owns the Univision broadcast network, as well as the ViX streaming platform, among other offerings. ViX has been a top strategic priority, though the company has also made it available to some pay-TV partners, perhaps most notably Charter last September, which is when the company officially announced the ad tier of the platform.

Noticias Univision anchors Jorge Ramos and Ilia Calderon also participated in the presentation.

The company was created two years ago with the merger of Univision and Mexico’s Televisa.

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