Spanish-language broadcaster Univision plans to offer live sports and scripted series in coming months, as the network’s company strives to woo ad dollars from English competitors while being sold to a new company in the not-too-distant future.
Univision plans to unveil 11 new scripted series, the result of a long production pipeline that readies series with a much longer lead time than counterparts, as well as televise matches from Liga MX, UEFA Champions League and MLS, While the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on sports leagues that return to play has yet to be charted, Univision said it plans to televise more than 1600 live games over its various platforms. The company could be poised to deliver a more robust slate of originals than many of its U.S. rivals, which have had to suspend production of many of scripted comedies and dramas.
“With a clear mission to inform, empower and entertain the Hispanic community, we’re playing a more vital role in our audience’s lives than ever before during these unprecedented times,” said Vince Sadusky, CEO of Univision, in a prepared statement, adding: “We are the recognized leader and go-to source for the best Spanish-language content anywhere, and anticipate that we will only grow stronger as we continue to listen to and serve the needs of the Hispanic community.”
Univision expects to reveal its programming Tuesday afternoon as part of an “upfront” presentation to advertisers. The streaming-video showcase will feature Pitbull singing “I Believe That We Will Win,” and is the company’s latest effort to make a case to be considered as a strong alternative to rivals like NBC, ABC and Fox, among others.
The company makes its pitch while in flux. Control of Univision is expected to be transferred to former Viacom finance chief Wade Davis and private-equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners when a deal is completed later this year. Like other media companies, Univision is likely to face headwinds: many advertisers have cut back on spending due to fallout from the pandemic.
Steve Mandala, president of advertising sales and marketing for Univision, highlighted the network’s reach among one of the nation’s fastest growing population segments, and emphasized a number of options that would help advertisers who are increasingly interested in reaching potential customers with data-backed ad campaigns and via new platforms such as broadband. “We are dedicated to serving our audience and partners with a proven programming strategy and suite of tools and services that meet the changing needs of consumers and advertisers,” Mandala said.
The network’s lineup includes series such as “Imperio de Mentiras” (“Empire of Lies”), which features the return of Angelique Boyer, a veteran telenovela actress. “Si Nos Dejan (“If They Let Us”) chronicles a woman who divorces her cheating husband and tries to find new love. “Te Acuerdas de Mi” (“Remember Me”) depicts two lovers who try make a life after being forced to abandon their relationship many years earlier.
Univision saw its volume of ad commitments rise 5% to 6% in 2019’s upfront market, according to a person familiar with the matter, driven in part by an influx of new advertisers and expanded budgets from current clients.