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9 May 2019

Univision ups ante with rebranded apps, more blackouts to come?

What a week for live sports, and we don’t mean on the pitch. Not only did Sinclair emerge victorious in the big-bucks deal for Fox’s fabled sports networks and YouTube strike a historic deal with MLB (see separate stories in this issue), but Spanish TV network Univision played its hand by rolling out an ambitious new content slate coupled with a new face for its lucrative live sports assets.

With Univision caught up in some contentious carriage disagreements, most notably with Dish Network singling out Univision as a primary cause of subscriber losses, the network’s heightened broad multiplatform portfolio plans could spell further bad news for the pay TV operator community.

Firstly, Univision has rebranded its Univision Deportes multi-platform sports and cable network to TUDN (meaning Your Sports Network), in doing so promising to continue delivering more live soccer content than any other US media firm. TUDN will debut in Mexico this summer before graduating to the US, with subscribers to TUDN through participating pay TV services receiving TUDN app access on multiple devices, as well as on set tops, at no additional cost. Univision claims one major pay TV provider has already signed on to carry TUDN’s two new soccer channels – TUDNxtra and Zona Futbol – with more agreements expected in the coming months.

As well as the sports rebrand, Univision was busy at its annual pre-Upfronts event outlining major investments in news and entertainment, to cement its position as the number 1 Spanish-language TV network across all broadcast, cable, sports and digital properties – a position it has maintained for the past 26 consecutive seasons.

As much as we prefer to avoid diverting down the political road, one of the reasons we chose to highlight Univision’s activities this week is that despite President Trump’s best efforts, Univision claims US growth is being driven by Hispanics – with the US Hispanic population expected to be 28% of the population by 2060 and valued at $2.1 trillion. Univision doesn’t specify if all or a portion of this huge market value relates directly to broadcasting, or rather an umbrella figure for the total value Hispanics are projected to bring to the US economy. We suspect the latter.

In addition, nearly 90% of Univision’s viewing is live, giving advertisers an unrivaled advantage of knowing exactly when they are reaching target consumers. Univision also has the largest exclusive audience, greater than any of the top-10 English-language networks. So, when it comes to future black outs as with the recent Dish Network debacle, Univision’s growing loyal user base of Spanish-speaking viewers may vote with their eyeballs as well as their feet when it comes to choosing a TV service provider.

On the marketing side of the coin, a suite of services called Univision Brand Labs was unveiled to cater for Univision’s advertiser client needs including consumer insights, creative marketing and campaign measurement capabilities. Univision has drummed up its two-day Upfronts event taking place next week as quite the all guns blazing soiree, with the return of an “experimental, innovative, immersive activation” – whatever that means – but we’ll keep an eye out for anything significant.

“Univision is the gateway to reaching Hispanic consumers,” said Steve Mandala, President, Advertising Sales and Marketing, Univision. “Our reach and expertise provide a direct connection to America’s growth engine, speaking to them in-language and in-culture, reinforcing the power of our brand. No other media company delivers the end-to-end capabilities for engaging Hispanics, at scale and with impact, like Univision.”