News


Latin Media Leaders: Cesar Conde, Univision

MOST SUCCESSFUL US HISPANIC EXECUTIVE

CESAR CONDE, PRESIDENT, UNIVISION NETWORKS, UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS

2012 was an incredibly busy year for US Hispanic broadcasting group Univision, with the launch of four new channels, a move into bilingual services, the roll out of numerous digital initiatives and the rebranding of second network TeleFutura.

“Not long ago we had three networks, but by the end of 2012 we had twelve broadcast or cable nets,” says Cesar Conde, the man charged with running the TV networks and production arm, Univision Studios. “We started seeing audience demand for more and more choice and our audience’s passion points are sports, telenovelas and news. They were the categories that jumped out.”

Univision tlnovelas, Univision Deportes Network and FOROtv duly followed in March, April and May respectively.

Two of the biggest developments of 2012 will only take shape this year. The launch of UniMás this January in place of TeleFutura and the launch of an English-language news network with Disney’s ABC.

“Spanish language will always be the core of what we do, but as part of a portfolio approach we have introduced English in a culturally relevant manner,” Conde says. “We’ve done it for the portion of the [Hispanic] audience who prefer to consume content in English and also for English-speaking viewers who like Hispanic content and are interested in Hispanic issues, food, music and culture. We felt it was important to have that in the portfolio.”

The news network with ABC will launch around August this year. Another service available in Spanish or English is UVideos. The TV Everywhere service allows viewers to catch up with Univision shows on-demand and on different devices, on a free and subscription basis. The user interface has been fully optimised for English and Spanish audiences.

“It was an important launch,” Conde says. “It’s the first bilingual digital network of its kind and a central hub where you can find all of the content in our portfolio. There are a lot of social media and second-screen features and the entire experience can be in English or Spanish.”

Multiscreen is important to Univision, not least because its audience hugely over-indexes on usage of mobile and digital devices.

The TeleFutura rebrand was perhaps counter intuitive given that the company’s second network was enjoying strong ratings momentum. “It was an opportunistic move,” Conde explains. “We had a unique opportunity to counter programme against the core Univision network.”

The long-term goal is to ensure we have the number one and two Spanish-language networks.

The new network UniMás, as well as sounding on-brand (it roughly translates as Univision Plus), skews more male and younger than the main network. Programming deals were locked in with Colombia’s Caracol and RTI, which have previously aligned themselves with Telemundo. They will deliver an edgier slew of scripted content to UniMás than those available on its sister network.

“The long-term goal is to ensure we have the number one and two Spanish-language networks,” Conde says.

All Univision networks benefit from access to programming from the largest producer of Spanish-language programming in the world, Televisa .The pair renewed their Programme Licensing Agreement (PLA) in 2010 following tortuous negotiations.

Televisa is a shareholder in Univision and the two are inseparable. “The Televisa relationship is critical to both parties, we say here that Televisa is Univision and Univision is Televisa,” Conde says.

This year the pair coproduced a digital telenovela, Te presento a Valentin, which was unusual for a web series in that it attracted top talent from the telenovela world. This and other digital initiatives are both marketing efforts and revenue earners. Conde says: “We need to produce content viewers want and for the different ways that they want to consume it,  but we need a business model that works and with this we brought in advertising partners and think we have found a model that is scalable.”

Univision Studios, meanwhile, produces over 4,000 hours of programming a year. Its focus is making content that complements that from Televisa.

When TBI last interviewed the Univision executive in 2011 he said that the network would ultimately become the number one network in the US. Now he says the goal is broader than that and involves capturing the audience’s attention across a range of services.

He says: “Our main network Univision is at another level now. Over the last five years it has grown from being a successful niche channel to a meaningful competitor in the wider media landscape, it’s in the top three or four networks regardless of language.

“Clearly we will continue to close the ratings gap with the top English-language nets, but another key metric will be ‘engagement’. In a multiplatform world ensuring your brand engages with your audience is as important.”

 

LATIN MEDIA LEADERS 2012/13

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: ENRIQUE R. MARTINEZ, DISCOVERY LAT-AM

MOST SUCCESSFUL US HISPANIC EXECUTIVE: CESAR CONDE, UNIVISION

MOST INFLUENTIAL INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE: HERNAN LOPEZ, FOX

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: PEDRO LEDA, LEADFILMS

MOST INFLUENTIAL PRODUCTION COMPANY: DANIEL GUTMAN, POWWOW

BEST TELENOVELA: EVA LUNA

BEST FORMAT: CAIGA QUIEN CAIGA, EYEWORKS CUATRO CABEZAS

BEST DOCUMENTARY: EXTREME PLANET, GLOBO TV

BEST FORMAT: CAIGA QUIEN CAIGA, EYEWORKS CUATRO CABEZAS

DIGITAL INNOVATOR: HBO LATIN AMERICA

BEST SCRIPTED FORMAT: TERMINALES