The Hispanic TV upfront marketplace this year has been a tale of two networks, with Univision doing business at a rapid pace, well ahead of last year and almost 75 percent sold, while Telemundo has been moving more deliberately and at last year’s tempo.
Univision clearly has been buoyed by its decision to, for the first time, sell all its platforms—national TV, cable, local stations, radio and online—during the same time frame.
Also helping Univision is that it’s averaging 3.5 million viewers per night in prime time vs. 1 million for Telemundo, and a 1.5 18-49 rating versus 0.4 for Telemundo, per Nielsen Media Research live-plus-same-day ratings data. Some media agency execs said they have taken advantage of Univision’s all-inclusive sales push by doing deals earlier than with Telemundo.
One multicultural media buyer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the economy has caused some marketers to be more cautious about ad spending and that Univision, as the higher-rated Hispanic network, had benefitted. “Some advertisers may not be willing to pay Telemundo the same CPM increases as they are paying Univision, maybe wanting to wait it out for scatter buys,” the buyer said.
But Jackie Hernandez, chief operating officer at Telemundo, said negotiations have been slower because of the complex product-integration deals in its scripted novelas.
“Our upfront strategy this year is being driven by integration—not just product placement, but by über-integration,” she said. “We are holding meetings among clients, agencies and our production people and this takes time.”
Hernandez said completed deals reflect a strong commitment among auto, telecommunications and beauty accounts.
Meanwhile, most of the major Hispanic and English-language media agencies have completed their deals with Univision, said David Lawenda, president, sales and marketing. Lawenda said he’s still in negotiations with one major mainstream agency, while deals with all the multicultural agencies have already been wrapped up.
“We’re two months ahead of last year’s upfront,” said Lawenda, adding that business has been written not only for next season but also for the entire 2009 calendar year. “We usually do our calendar-year deals in fourth quarter, but this year we’ve done them during the summer,” he said.
Strong categories for Univision continue to be movies, fast food, wireless, insurance, pharmaceutical, beauty and retail, said Lawenda, adding that Univision is averaging 6 percent-8 percent cost-per-thousand increases.