Why This Broadcaster Is Going Beyond TV to Wearables and VR

Telemundo is gaining on Spanish-language rival Univision

When Telemundo celebrates the best in U.S. Latin pop culture with tonight's fourth-annual Premios Tu Mundo, live from Miami's American Airlines Arena at 8 p.m., the Hispanic broadcaster will have more to tout than just its winners.

Premios Tu Mundo caps a strong summer for Telemundo, which saw the Hispanic broadcaster close the gap with rival Univision to the smallest it's ever been. In July, Telemundo was only behind Univision by 238,000 viewers in prime time. In July of 2014, that gap was more than 700,000 and was between 1.3 million to 1.6 million in 2013.

"We've got momentum," Joe Uva, chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, NBCUniversal told Adweek. "Their [Univision's] primetime audiences have declined over the past four years. Ours have increased."

A lot of the recent growth comes from a long-term deal with FIFA, which included this summer's Women's World Cup. After airing on Univision since 1978, the matches moved to Telemundo and sister cable network NBC Universo for the first time. "That's a transformational property," Uva boasted. "It really is a big opportunity for us to have a promotional platform that we've never had before."

The Hispanic Group helped NBCUniversal secure nearly $6 billion in Upfront sales. Uva does not break out his group's take, but he noted the scatter market has been strong in both the second and third quarters. "That's something we haven't seen on the Hispanic side in many years," he said. "It really bodes very well for the second half revenue for us."

To continue the summer momentum, Telemundo is getting into wearable technology, planning to release its first app on the Apple Watch "very shortly," according to Uva. The news-based app will be designed as a companion to Telemundo's news app on the iPhone, which fits the early-adopting Latino demographic Telemundo targets. "They are the leaders in adoption in using new technologies, particularly on a mobile basis," Uva said.

Telemundo is also working on another digital initiative called R.A.V.E. (Real Time Augmented Virtual Experiences), which is still in the development stage. "It really is going to complement the viewing experience," Uva promised.

Telemundo also announced Allstate, Volkswagon, Walmart, Samsung and L'Oréal Paris are the lead sponsors for tonight's awards show. Product integrations include telenovela star Fabian Rios arriving in a 2016 Jetta, while Samsung will sponsor MundoEmoji, a branded interactive space where celebrity guests will be transformed into a customized emoji version of themselves.