The approaching television upfront ad-buying season may see a sizable chunk of ad dollars shifting not only from the English-language broadcast networks to cable, but also in the direction of Spanish-language television.

While traditional Hispanic TV giant Univision will again take in the lion’s share of upfront ad dollars, with Telemundo corralling the next biggest portion targeting this ever-growing population sector, many smaller and newer TV players are also aggressively competing for a greater share of the total take.

Along with Univision and Telemundo, five other Hispanic entertainment network organizations will hold their upfront presentations during the traditional broadcast upfront week beginning May 13: Fox Hispanic Networks, which includes MundoFox; Discovery Hispanic Networks; NuvoTV; EstrellaTV; and TV Azteca.

NuvoTV’s presentation will feature an appearance by Jennifer Lopez, whose TV and film production company, Nuyorican, is developing original programming and first-run series for the network.

Univision will not only be selling advertising on its network, but also on its sibling broadcaster UniMás (recently rebranded from TeleFutura). Season-to-date in primetime, Univision is averaging 3.7 million viewers per night and a 1.5 18-49 rating, which on many nights bests one or more of the English-language broadcast networks. UniMás is averaging about 680,000 viewers per night and a 0.3 18-49 rating. NBCUniversal’s Telemundo is averaging 1.3 million viewers per night and a 0.6 demo number. All of those networks will also be touting their 18-34 primetime numbers.

Keith Turner, president of ad sales and marketing at Univision Communications says he welcomes all the competition because “it validates the Hispanic marketplace as one with growing consumer interest.” And while Turner says some of the upfront selling will be focused on UniMás making inroads into the Telemundo audience, for the most part, Univision will be looking more at taking dollars away from the English-language broadcast networks where Univision continues to make major strides in the primetime ratings battle.

“We beat NBC in the February sweeps and that obviously will be a major selling point for us in the upfront,” Turner says. “In February, 58 of our 62 stations locally beat NBC in primetime.”

Making Inroads

Another selling point Univision will use to try to lure ad dollars from ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox is that for the first time in any first quarter, the network finished fourth among all broadcasters in the adult 18-34 demo, and was the highest-rated network on Friday nights in the adults 18-49 demo.

Telemundo, meanwhile, has its own positive story. The network was up 7% in viewers in Q1 primetime and it will no doubt crow that it delivered more total viewers and adults 18-49 than UniMás, MundoFox, Azteca and Estrella combined. UniMás will counter that its season-to-date viewership is up 15%, with its 18-49 rating increasing 6%.

Mike Rosen, executive VP of ad sales and integrated marketing at Telemundo plans to stress to marketers the importance of the network producing its novelas and other programming where it can integrate brands into story lines.

“We have the ability to produce our own content and work with marketers to integrate them into that content and this is very valuable to them,” Rosen says. “No other Hispanic network can this to the degree we can because they don’t produce their own content to the level we do.”

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