NEW YORK -- Spanish language media giant Univision Communications touted something that its English-language broadcast rivals can not: prime-time ratings at its flagship TV network, Univision, grew 7% during the current season.
Ratings gains in an era of shrinking TV audiences are uncommon as major broadcasters struggle to maintain their standing. Cable channels, social media and advances in technology, including digital video recorders, continue to nibble away at viewership, particularly among younger audiences.
But executives representing Univision, the country’s fifth largest television network, said that much like the Latino population, its viewership was young, growing and steadily advancing on the establishment.
“We beat NBC on 195 nights in prime-time,” Univision’s ad sales chief, David Lawenda, boasted to a crowd of advertisers Tuesday at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. “There is a new American reality.”
The 2010 Census found that there are now more than 50 million Latinos in the U.S., making up the nation’s fastest growing demographic group. Increasingly, marketers are zeroing in on the potency of the Latino market, which some estimate represents about $1 trillion a year in buying power.
Univision’s message, “Latinos live here,” came on the second day of the broadcast TV industry’s biggest event of the year: the kickoff to the springtime ad sales bazaar known as the upfront market. NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS and others take turns rolling out their new fall lineups for advertisers. Later this month, and in June, advertisers will negotiate more than $9 billion in commitments for prime-time commercials on the major networks for the upcoming season.
Univision has long labored to increase its share of the pie.
A consortium of private investors, including Los Angeles billionaire Haim Saban, acquired Univision in 2007 in a leveraged buyout. Last year, the company generated revenue of $2.27 billion, with its television networks contributing the bulk, nearly $1.9 billion.