But Univision executives also are looking at data indicating that births — not immigration — have spurred the growth of the Hispanic community (though a recent Census report suggests that may be changing.). And according to research, second and third generation Hispanics watch more television in English than in Spanish.
Sitting at his Doral office in view of a wall of TV monitors, Univision Networks President Cesar Conde talks about Univision’s “unprecedented growing spurt.” In the past three years, his group has expanded from three television networks to 12. All are in Spanish.
As both viewers and advertisers sought a wider range of content, Univision has launched the 24-hour cable channels Univision Deportes for sports, Univision tlnovelas, devoted to telenovelas, and Foro Tv, offering news and information.
The strategy is working. Among some demographic groups, Univision has been edging out some of the English-language networks during specific periods; in July it is set to finish first of all networks during primetime with the all-important audience of adults 18-49. Galavision is now the No. 1 Spanish-language cable network, according to Nielsen.
Still, Univision has felt that it was important to serve Hispanics who prefer to consume culturally relevant content in English, Conde says — in the early 2000s, Galavision experimented with English-language programs, but reverted to fully Spanish-language content. “Fusion is a pioneering initiative and groundbreaking on many fronts”.
Though the Fusion network will target English-dominant Hispanics, Conde is betting non Hispanics will also want to watch it. “In the year 2013, the demographic change is having such prevalent impact across this country that now the Latino community is no longer a niche,’’ said Conde. “It is part of the mainstream and the non-Latinos also want to understand the passions and topics that interest this community.”
Discussions with ABC started in late 2011, and the announcement of the new network came in May 2012. An embryonic team of journalists have been running a website for more than a year. Though details about programming, investment dollars and personnel have not been released, documents filed with Miami-Dade County project a payroll of about 350 people within five years and a start-up investment of about $275 million. The channel’s operations will be located near Univision’s current Doral headquarters, at a 150,000 square foot facility being built at 8551 NW 30th Terr.
A second English-language network, El Rey, will be launched in 2014 in partnership with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, featuring general entertainment and aimed at young Hispanic millenials. Univision will be responsible for its back-office operations, sales and distribution.
The announcement of Fusion has generated high expectations. Efforts to engage the English-dominant Hispanic audience have been disappointing so far, according to media buyers, but many attributed those flops to timing.
Daisy Exposito, the CEO of N.Y.-based ad agency Daisy Expósito-Ulla, believes that the moment is ripe.
“Univision and ABC have come to the realization that the English-preferred segment of the market is starting to represent a significant number that can no longer be ignored by the media. As is always the case with media distribution, if demand is there, then supply must follow,’’ she says.