Billboard Latin Music Conference: How Univision Leverages Its Massive Reach to Push Artists

Evan Harrison, EVP of content & entertainment, Univision Radio (left) and Jose Valle, president, Univision Radio during the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Conference (Arnold Turner)

Giving one of the last talks of the Billboard Latin Music Conference's first full day, Jose Valle, president of Univision Radio, made the promise that his lecture would be both brief and bold. The charismatic head of the immense chain of Spanish language radio stations held true to his promise; joined by Evan Harrison, executive vice president of content and entertainment for Univision, the two gave a presentation that was concise and striking in its frank outlining of Univision’s shortcomings.

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Easily one of the most self-effacing talks of the day, Valle spoke with sincerity about Univision’s previous stumbles, stating that his company was cloistered and had a closed-off vision previously. That’s all in the past now, according to Valle, because Univision has adopted a “one for all,” philosophy, working with all its platforms -- not just radio and television stations, but cable networks, television events, and digital assets -- to achieve a common goal.

Harrison explained how the “one for all” concept worked in a wave-based metaphor. The longhaired blond executive stating that he “loves to find a way to bring surfing into his presentations.”

The first wave was the idea of the company’s evolution and its ability to tie in all of Univision’s platforms in a simplified manner. Univision streamlined its main website, and added an interactive component. On the new site, fans are given more access to the artists played on Univision’s networks and also have the ability to listen to the more work from said musical talent. The company also created a radio app, making it easier for its 50 radio stations to stay connected. According to Harrison, over 1.6-million people have downloaded the app to date.

Wave two consists of utilizing all of the company’s strengths to make an event of any new music coming out. He cited what the company did for one of Carlos Vives’ newest songs, premiering it on 13 chosen stations, featuring it on its morning network program “Despierta America,” directing local TV news affiliates to tease in and out of newscasts with it, and blasting it out via its wide social media reach as well.

Wave three consists of a new music service specifically for Hispanic America called Uforia. An upgrade on its previous smartphone app, Uforia is a culmination of the multiple Univision platforms. Uforia expands the content accessible to the audience, going from 13 to 25 genres, and gives users the chance to curate their content.

Uforia, which will launch this summer, also gives users the chance to create their own radio stations and share their likes on social media.

“We are making a shift in our content and our policy,” stated Valle. With Uforia, Univision is putting out “its entire tamale,” said Harrison. “We are using the digital opportunity to reach the global market.” 

“Our future is bright,” added Valle.

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