Q&A: Joe Uva on Today’s Univision

Pop quiz: Which network is regularly No. 1 among the 18-34 demographic on Friday night? The answer: The Univision Network. Anchored by its popularity among Hispanic Americans, Univision is one of the top five networks in the country. Regardless of language, it often beats the other four networks on many nights in primetime. Brandweek’s Kenneth Hein asked Univision Communications Inc. CEO Joe Uva to discuss how advertisers are looking to leverage the network today as well as the three things they should not forget when targeting the powerful Hispanic audience. Here is what Uva, who will be presenting at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference in May, had to say:

Many of the networks are struggling with soft sales, how is Univision doing in this economy?
Joe Uva: The reality is that everyone is being impacted by this recession. Some are being hurt more than others. Fortunately for us, the Hispanic consumer is vitally important to advertisers and may be one of the few bright spots poised to deliver growth for marketers even in the current environment.

BW: Are advertisers doing anything differently than in the past? Give me an example of one brand that is a shining example?
JU: We are seeing more brands leverage our three screen and radio offerings. Honey Nut Cheerios from General Mills is one example of how the brand’s Hispanic efforts anchored by Univision have resulted in double digit increases in year-to-date sales. Other examples include Ford, M&Ms, Nestle brands and State Farm.
BW: Does Univision have more integrated offerings? If so, what is a recent example?
JU: We work with marketers to develop customized solutions across our TV, online, mobile and radio platforms. We have executed some innovative programs leveraging some of our top talent, as well as leading entertainment programs such as Sabado Gigante (Giant Saturday). A great example is Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin Beauty). Working closely with AT&T, JCPenney, Maybelline New York & Garnier Fructis and State Farm, we co-created individualized programming content seamlessly integrating the brands into the show in a number of ways that will form part of the entire series, including sponsored challenges, which the contestants face on a weekly basis.
Another example occurred when Ford used Univision’s Sabado Gigante as the exclusive platform for the launch of the 2009 Ford F-150 to the Hispanic community. Ford leveraged its long-standing exclusivity in the show to launch its multi-faceted Hispanic marketing campaign. The effort featured television’s longest running prime time host, Don Francisco, teasing in-program segments, revealing the new vehicle live in the studio, and giving away a vehicle to one lucky audience member.
BW: How has the Hispanic target audience evolved for marketers? How will their needs continue to evolve?
JU: Three key observations I would share: One, in order to succeed today, marketers need to ensure that Hispanic outreach is not a line item but a business imperative. Today Hispanics account for more than 50% of the population growth in the nation and in the country’s 2 largest cities, Los Angeles and New York, Hispanics already represent more than 30% of the population.

Two, Hispanics represent nearly $1 Trillion in consumer spending power, they are brand loyal and they are exercising their increasing socio-economic and political influence as never before.

Three, marketers should not forget the importance of reaching this consumer in Spanish. The number of Spanish speakers continues to rise: 35 million in 2009, up from 32 million, just four years ago, with 82% of all Hispanics speaking Spanish at home.