Univision Bests the Big Four in July Sweeps Ratings Contest

Univision wins July sweeps ratings in key demographic
AP Photo/Univision, Rodrigo VarelaJennifer Lopez and Pitbull perform during "Premios Juventud" awards show on Univision.
Univision? More like Uno-vision.

This summer, there's a new No. 1 among television viewers aged 18 to 49: For the fourth week in a row, the Spanish-language network Univision has won the primetime ratings contest for this coveted demographic, as well as the 18 to 34 cohort. It's Univision's first top finish in a sweeps month; the network previously beat NBC to come in fourth in the critical February sweeps period.

"Univision has become known for airing first-run primetime programming every night, 365 days each year," said Univision Networks President Cesar Conde in an emailed statement. "Our audience has high expectations for us to deliver on the promise to bring them the best telenovelas, variety, news and sports programming, and our track record shows the result."

Indeed, at a time when ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox are mostly airing repeats -- though "the Big Four have increased their original output this summer," notes Variety's Rick Kissell -- Univision's all-new lineup is a more attractive proposition for many viewers. In particular, its telenovelas -- soap-operatic miniseries like "Porque El Amor Manda" (Because Love Rules) and "Amores Verdaderos" (True Loves) -- have been ratings winners. (The latter just featured a same-sex wedding storyline, said to be the first of its kind on Hispanic television.) "Premios Juventud" (Youthfulness Awards), with a performance by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, was also a big success, outperforming last year's broadcast by more than 20 percent.

Strong ratings are translating into increased earnings for Univision, which "saw a 17.6% year-over-year jump in operating income in the second quarter," Variety reports. "Net revenue grew 10.4% to $676.5 million."

In a conference call with investors on Thursday, Univision CEO Randy Falco contrasted his network favorably with CBS (CBS), which has been struggling to reach a deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC). "We have a different offering than CBS," Falco said, according to Deadline.com. "I'm sure they're important to their viewers. But we are critically important ... We have a closer tie to our Spanish-speaking audiences [than any English-language service has with its viewers]. Distributors agree with us."

In addition to programming choices, demographic trends are working in Univision's favor. "It wouldn't surprise me in a few years if Univision isn't the top 18-to-49-year-old network during a season," an industry analyst told the Associated Press. Univision's audience skews younger than those of its big network competitors, the AP notes: "The median age of the network's viewer is 37 while CBS, NBC and ABC's median ages are clustered in the mid-50s. Figuring in viewers of all ages in July, CBS leads with a 5.3 million average in prime-time and Univision is fourth with 3.6 million viewers, Nielsen said."

But regardless of who commands the most eyeballs overall, the 18 to 49 crowd is the audience "that advertisers die for," said Laura Martínez, who writes about Hispanic issues at Mi blog es tu blog, to NPR. "It's summer, they're running against reruns, against boring realties, but I think it's pretty impressive and it's definitely history-making."

Univision agrees, boasting, "We are the new American reality," in a press release cheekily addressed to its rivals:

Univision press release

While Univision declares "Número Uno" to be "The New #1", a report by the Pew Hispanic Center says that when it comes to news, more Latinos are using English-language sources than before:

In 2012, 82% of Hispanic adults said they got at least some of their news in English, up from 78% who said the same back in 2006. By contrast, the share who get at least some of their news in Spanish has declined, to 68% in 2012 from 78% in 2006.

According to Pew, the change "has been driven by an increase in the share of Hispanics who say they get their news exclusively in English" -- 32 percent in 2012, compared to 22 in 2006. Explanations include higher proficiency in English and rising numbers of U.S.-born Latino adults. But a record number of Latinos speak Spanish at home -- 35 million ages 5 and older -- and Spanish-language media is considered better on "news relevant to Hispanics."

Univision is poised to take advantage of this shift as well, entering the English-language news market through a joint venture with Disney-ABC TV (DIS). The companies' 24-hour cable channel, Fusion, will launch later this year. "Now, Univision occupies an interesting spot," notes MediaPost's Dave Goetzl. "It, of course, wants Fusion to thrive, but doesn't want that one-third of Hispanics gravitating to only English-language news to get so high that its news programming on Univision has major ratings drops."

But as Goetzl acknowledges, the overall rise of U.S. Spanish speakers is good news for Univision's hispanophone news business. And either way, there are always telenovelas, porque amor es para siempre.

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With 11 milion illegals, no pressure to learn English (as it used to be), this is not surprising. Along with the major networks showing garbage during the summer, this is not surprising at all.
Even voting ballots mailed at home are in Spanish. This is so unfair to the other immigrants in our country. What I don't understand is why doesn't anyone complain?

July 27 2013 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since all TVs are now required to have the setting, and all broadcasters are required to have the ability, why doesnt the SAP setting translate Spanish into English? Why dont English speaking Americans get the same access to the media that the Spanish speaking populace does? I call for the FCC to mandate that any cable network who broadcasts in America to have an English translation, b eit thru the SAP setting, or subtitles...

July 27 2013 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mister Wonderful

Because of the greed of politicians, because of the greed of the want of cheap labor my capitalist, because of the liberal minded attitudes, because of the bad times in latin America. The invasion is succesful.

July 27 2013 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, it's true that the Mexicans are taking over, population-wise, but it is not a good thing for our country. They travel a thousand miles and a willing to work for low pay, thus bringing their third-world lifestyle up here. They often work off-the-books, then send what they do make back to Mexico, thus taking the money from our economy. The real cause of this problem is the American people who have voted to allow the Mexicans up here in the first place. The super-rich want them here, to assure our once-great country will fall into third-world status...this assures that all the money will be had by only the super-rich, and the rest are starving masses.

July 27 2013 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

new country thanx to dum ass politicians United States of Northeren Mexico, jackass John McCain presiding.....yer ass!

July 27 2013 at 4:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why is this a surprise to anybody? Let 11 million Spanish speaking illegals stay, what else would the expected outcome be? Its exactly why politicians are creating "amnesty" and not "path to citizenship"

Path to citizenship currently exists and has for many years, not just for Spanish speaking immigrants but all people outside US citizenship. Its just that the present majority (made up of Spanish and Latino descent) feel entitled to American benefits without having to follow and implement existing rules, laws and regulations. Politicians see the opportunity to capitalize on these votes few years down the road by cow towing to illegals, instead of "serving' the American tax payer

July 27 2013 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, If I knew Jlo was on Univision in skimpy clothes, I'd be watching too. But then an old guy like me finds anyone under 50 a "hot young chick". (No, I'm not Anthony Weiner LOL)

July 27 2013 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am hispanic and I always watch english, the only exception is these past few months. Only Univision is showing the gold cup and other tournaments that lead up to the world cup in brazil. Soccer is a big sports and even non-spanish speakers will watch the channel if it means its the only way they see the game, even if they have to mute it!

July 27 2013 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brenflor3's comment

definitely but what about the novellas ? some are outrageously good
que benito amor etc
and I'M NOT REALLY INTO soaps but some "stories" grab ya never mind that i'm illiterate in spanish and have 2 other languages before this BUT ... !!!!!!!!!!!!!
good diversions-

July 27 2013 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Of course they are. After all, they have a minimum of at least 11 million illegals who watch the show as they only speak Spanish.

What's your point?

July 27 2013 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

American a.e. U.S. Advertiser need to look at data from the Pew Hispanic Center. Then they should start hiring more Hispanics to do English-language commercials. There is no need for Advertisers to continue advertising in Spanish. This view by Ad agencies feels like "segregation" rather than "integration" into the U.S. mainstream. Mainstream media also needs to adjust its coverage to include Hispanics instead of relegating news stories to "Latino Hispanic" news outlets such as Univision & Telemundo.

July 27 2013 at 2:37 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply