Spanish TV Eyes English Ad Budgets

Keach Hagey, Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2013

For the top four broadcast networks, which have endured a tough television season, the coming “upfront” advertising-sales negotiations for next season could be difficult. But for another of the majors, Univision, it may be a different story.

Propelled by the country’s rapidly growing Hispanic population, the Spanish-language broadcaster is the only one of the top five networks to have increased its prime-time viewership this season in the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic. Although it will likely end the season in fifth place, its audience in that age group is up 1% for the season to date, compared with declines of 3% for CBS Corp.’s CBS, 22% for News Corp.’s Fox, 7% for Comcast Corp.’s NBC and 9% for Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, according to Nielsen.

Univision has long dominated its market, drawing 58% of the Spanish-language prime-time audience in that demographic. But lately it has emerged as a more serious competitor to the big English-language networks, ad buyers say.

For the first time, Univision beat NBC in the 18-to-49 age group during the February “sweeps,” the crucial quarterly ratings periods that local stations use to set their advertising rates, according to Nielsen.

Univision executives say they plan to use this victory to help argue for a bigger share of TV ad dollars at its May 14 upfront. Spending on Spanish-language TV made up only about 8.2% of all TV-ad spending in 2012, according to Kantar Media. Yet Hispanics make up 17% of total viewers and 19% of 18-to-49-year-olds, according to Nielsen.

“Our messaging to the advertising community is, ‘Why would you continue to pay more for less on the English-language side, when the ratings on Univision continue to grow?’ ” said Univision Communications Inc. Chief Executive Randy Falco. “You can’t ignore this anymore. You’re on the wrong side of history if you do.”

Some advertisers agree. Ed Gold, the advertising director of insurer State Farm, a longtime Univision advertiser, says he expects the network’s victory over NBC in the sweeps will “have advertisers who haven’t been advertising in the Hispanic market stand up and take notice that this is a very large market, a very loyal market, and, to a certain extent, there is not as much fragmentation as there is in the English-language audience.”


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  • We already know these advertising executives don’t really have a clue.

    Here is their strategy for a typical commercial:
    1. In the background, play an old song “rediscovered” by Quentin Tarantino.
    2. Have a well dressed, genius black man peddle the product.
    3. Have a clueless, flabby, sloppily dressed white guy take the product gratefully.

    • pcmustgo

      Did you see the latest All State commercial? This black football player physically threatens a slobby white male and makes demands… really weird… plays on the concept of people being afraid of blacks. The black is at once both soft spoken and physically threatening at the same time…

      • Jane Johnson

        He was soft-spoken because he was talking about YOU, and didn’t want you to hear what he was saying. Just kidding, saw your post about your p.r. neighbors, and it made me laugh because when people speak a foreign language around me, especially when I KNOW that they can speak English, I always think the worst, too.

      • Room101

        Most corporations are in bed with Government.
        They have to be, or they go out of business.

        We pay taxes for the “service” of not coming under Government attention or surveillance.
        Anybody that thinks We live in so-called “free countries” better re-examine their concept of freedom and how it squares with where We live..

        Even though I myself haven’t watched tv in probably 10 years, these are the kinds of commercials 95% of TV-watchers are seeing when they watch the Masters, the Stanley Cup, the Super Bowl, what have you.

      • Luca

        We have a classic out here in LALA land. A certain cable network TWC has advertisements showing a white female breaking into the home of a middle-class black couple who are calmly sitting down watching TV.

        Could anything better illustrate the insanity and propaganda agenda of liberal-based MSM?

        • Aspiring rapper

          Next ad should have a 95 yr old Japanese woman smashing down the front door with her wheelchair.

  • The__Bobster

    ….its audience in that age group is up 1% for the season to date, compared with declines of 3% for CBS Corp.’s CBS, 22% for News Corp.’s Fox, 7% for Comcast Corp.’s NBC and 9% for Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, according to Nielsen.

    White kids have better things to do than watch crappy “reality” shows.

    BTW, I’m starting to see commercials in Spanish and I’m not pleased. Hear that, Target?

    • Flaxen-headed Strumpet

      And White adults have better thing to do than watch Rachel Maddow and Dick Wolff NYC cop shows too. Why not try running some ads on Amren madison Ave.?

    • crystalevans

      No, people watch shows like the Voice and the X-factor on network television and Duck Dynasty and the WWE on cable because there are more alternatives than when I was a kid and the only thing we had was network television.

    • And a lot of other shows. I’m sure you saw last week that the main four OTA nets canceled a big percentage of their prime time lineups.

  • The__Bobster

    … a certain extent, there is not as much fragmentation as there is in the English-language audience.”

    Proving that the stubbies aren’t assimilating.

    • Flaxen-headed Strumpet

      You got that right. Think about the kind of products you would advertise on Don Fernando’s Sábado Gigante.

    • crystalevans

      Sure, most of the Spanish language networks show Telenovelas and some news programs.

    • Aspiring rapper

      And they’re unintelligent conformists with trashy taste.

  • crystalevans

    From what I have read, the majority of young Latinos speak English as their first language. Many do not even speak Spanish. So I wonder if we will be seeing English speaking Latinos in ads.

  • bigone4u

    Because of the large Mexican population in south Texas the Mexican channels are prominent. I used to watch for kicks. What you get is stupid hysterical soap operas (Mi padre es morte–boo hoo), soccer, and really stupid variety shows that promote pedophilia by having young half naked women dressed in skimpy schoolgirl outfits running around making fools of Mexican men. If an advertiser wants to associate with this moronic junk, they can forget about my business.

  • White Mom in WDC

    Another good reason not to own a television- glad I don’t !

    • Bobby

      I applaud you, because watching television constantly, will turn anyone into a zombie in a short time. What is learned are lies about history and lies and agenda driven nonsense about almost everything else.

      • White Mom in WDC

        Thank you. Turn off the TV and tune in to life! I believe what I see and what I hear. I don’t need the tribe run media blitz to tell me what’s real!

    • Nathanwartooth

      There are lots of great shows out there, you just have to hunt around. I would recommend something like Netflix, because watching normal TV with commercials is awful.

      • GeneticsareDestiny

        I have a Netflix account, and I love it. I could never go back to enduring commercials every five minutes while I’m trying to watch something.

        I don’t even own a TV anymore, because it’s easier to just watch things on my computer.

  • Bobby

    Again the question arises, WHEN, when will the average English speaking citizen understand the implications of having a huge Mexican/lLatino demographic in their nation? What will it take?? Afterall, not everyone is going to want to study spanish like Harry Reids son did. If I know most Americans that speak English, their attitude is, I haven’t even come close to mastering English yet, now I’m going to be constantly inconvienced by the thousands of signs and documents that are in Spanish? Yep, the invasion from the South is in full swing and RINO’S AND the whole democrat party are 100 percent with it. PEACE, AMIGOS.

    • pcmustgo

      Yes, some PR’s I know speak English just fine (neighbors) were speaking Spanish together when I approached and it pissed me off. Probably gossiping about me in Spanish.First time that whole concept has really sunk in with me. I have reason to believe they were gossiping too.

      • Persona Non Grovel

        Next time they do this, tell them “chupa mis huevos.” If you feel they are talking down to you in Spanish, this will set them straight. But be ready to fight them off, that’s for sure. Or tell them “Su madre es la heina.” Again this will be fighting words, but it’ll show them you won’t put up with an inferior alien language being used against you in America.

        • The Verdict of History

          Inferior language???

          Don’t forget that Spanish is a EUROPEAN “tongue”…

          Please be careful!!

          In what way is Spanish inferior???

          • Persona Non Grovel

            It’s just my opinion. I don’t want to learn it, so I don’t care about it. The immigrants cannot say English is inferior because they are in a country where English is the native tongue. If I chose to move to a Spanish speaking nation, then I would feel that I better learn Spanish because English would be inferior there. Now you see?

    • saxonsun

      Learn spanish?! Over my dead body.

  • pcmustgo

    Yeah, I’ve noticed when I click on a video embedded as part of an article on, the preview ads are now in Spanish sometimes- even when the article is in english (of course) and has nothing to do with Latino related issues… weird.

    Like they are *softening us up for true bilingualism… sneaking it in there… I think it’s happened once or twice on TV too, like on FOX or CNN… Spanish language commercials being sneaked in there.

  • “Our messaging to the advertising community is, ‘Why would you continue to pay more for less on the English-language side, when the ratings on Univision continue to grow?’ ” said Univision Communications Inc. Chief Executive Randy Falco.
    Why would ….. and we should get.
    Who buys what the commecials sell? Who spends more money and who is more likely to be influenced by commecial advertising is all that should matter. Unless TV advertising dollars are now a “gibs”.

    • Flaxen-headed Strumpet

      I believe that The Dept. of Commerce and The US Chamber of Commerce have an economic term for what you are getting at rjp. It’s called BPI (Buying Power Index) and it is used for everything from mapping out B to B merchantile sales rep territories to deciding where to build a grocery store. Bankers, unfortunately don’t grok that concept as this is widely reflected in their prudent mortgage lending practices over the last 20 years. (sarcasm switch off)

  • NordicHeritage

    Advertising has become nothing more than propaganda by stealth. Everything you watch on tv is designed to make one think , act, or feel the way the ad sponsor wishes you to.

  • S. Euro.

    I wouldn’t call Univision Spanish TV, I think it’s Mexican or Venezuelan or whatever, not Spanish, we don’t watch that in Spain.

    • crystalevans

      Univision is actually filled with European looking Cubans out of Miami. They are owned, I believe by Televisa, a Mexican television network.

      • S. Euro.

        The headline made me really think the article was going to be about an actual Spanish network…I don’t care how they look, the way they act and the way they speak is definitely not Spanish…I bet it’s tacky ass shaking tv 24/7.

    • Flaxen-headed Strumpet

      No importa, es la emisora de preferencia de los babosos aca en EEUU. Solo hace falta que rebuznen pa’ que sean . . . . .

  • purestocles

    Just remember, advertisers buy time on TV. They don’t survive in business by giving their money away. So whatever it is they’re selling cannot be worth what they’re asking for it, because otherwise they’d simply break even and not bother advertising. Ultimately, ads are paid for by the consumer. So not only do you have to endure having your intelligence insulted and the disconcerting effect of the irritating interruptions but you pay for the privilege! It’s the (theoretically impossible) lose/lose situation!