Univision’s Strategic Shift

Ahead of Univision's upfront tour, network svp Cynthia Ashworth spills exclusive news: the combining of the company's broadcast and digital brand-integration groups

To better serve advertisers with content tie-ins that span the network’s TV, radio, online and mobile platforms, Univision has married its broadcast and digital branded-entertainment units under the banner “Innovations Marketing.” The team, which will report to Cynthia Ashworth, svp, innovations marketing team, is being spearheaded by 16-year network veteran Luis de la Parra, who was brought to New York from Miami, and longtime Madison Avenue executive Mark González, who joined as creative director three weeks ago. Ashworth explains the changes to Adweek.

Adweek: How many people are part of the new team? Did they come from your former departments or were they new hires?
The previous teams are very much being brought together. We had a group in our interactive and a group in broadcast, and they worked together side by side. It’s the same team. It’s about 40 people.

You’ve been doing branded entertainment for a while. What’s the real shift here?
I think [it’s] the 360-degree ideation from a single team. By bringing together the digital ideation specialists and the nondigital ideation specialists, we have a much more powerful and bigger group of brains coming up with these custom, brand-centric ideas. So that’s not only organizationally different for us, but it’s also going to be a huge benefit to clients.

Why take this step now?
This is what clients demand in the 2012 media environment. We’ve been working with this new team structure for several months, and now with the upfront coming up, we’re about to go on the road sharing our new programming opportunities and our new integration opportunities with advertisers. We felt like this is the time to announce it and kind of formalize it.

Should ad agencies worry that you’re trying to eat their lunch?
No, because we don’t do advertising. We do branded entertainment. We do integration. We work extremely closely with creative and media agencies including Hispanic creative agencies. They’re our partners, not our competitors.

What does one of these 360-degree integrations actually look like?
[A few] weeks ago was Premio Lo Nuestro, the big Hispanic entertainment awards show. One of our entertainment correspondents, who was actually a Nuestro Belleza Latina winner, Ana Patricia González, was the night’s social media expert. She was on camera at various points during the show, using her Blackberry Bold, tweeting from the phone, talking about its features—basically offering viewers access to exclusive content.

Is Televisa on board with this? Do you have access to its telenovela talent for your clients?
We are doing a lot of integrations with Televisa. We’ve already had success with Hoy, which is always the show that follows Despierta América on Univision. It’s a lifestyle magazine show, and we have worked over the past year with Televisa basically to integrate U.S. brands and content into the show.

How much of a gain do you think this reorganization will net you at the upfront?
[Laughs] I’m sorry I can’t give you a number, even if I was sure of what we thought it was, which I’m not. [But] we continue to see new big brands come to our air every year, and I anticipate that we will continue to see that this year.

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@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.