Spanish-Language Network TV is Here to Stay: Univision’s Ratings Blow The Big Four Out of the Water

by Wendy Rivera-Aguilar on August 12, 2013

Univisio2Univision made history in late-July when it defeated ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX as the leading network among viewers between the ages of 18 and 34 and those in the 18 to 49 age range. The undisputed leader in Spanish-language programming steadily climbed its way to the top of the ratings chart as it reached nearly 3.6 million total viewers. Univision’s programs have attracted an increasingly large and diverse audience.

Univision’s groundbreaking summer news revealed that Spanish-language TV will continue to have an impact in America’s English language-dominated media industry.

Univision’s Success

Spanish-language media plays an important role for nearly 35 million out of the 52 million Hispanics currently residing in the United States. Most rely on Hispanic media for education, entertainment, and news issues that mainstream media outlets fail to cover. Hispanic viewership is rapidly growing. For example, Pew studies show that 86 percent of Hispanics get their news from television, while 56 percent get their news from the Internet. This is a testament that television is still the biggest news source for Hispanics.

Hispanic communities prefer to engage in programming that uniquely speaks to them and addresses issues that directly hits home and affects their family, friends, and community. Univision has successfully engaged this market with its delivery of relevant and over-the-top programs on issues that deeply interest its viewers.

Increasingly Diverse Audience

As the nation’s demographics shift, Univision creatively sharpened its focus to attract the most coveted and largest audience within the Hispanic community. Often described as the new generation of Hispanic Millennial trendsetters,” the newest generation of U.S. Hispanics are between the ages of 12 and 34 and represent 62 percent  of the U.S. Hispanic population. This powerful segment values their heritage and bilingualism, and 95 percent of U.S. Hispanics feel it’s vitally important for future generations to speak Spanish.

As for the media they consume, 66 percent of young Hispanic adults choose to watch TV in English and Spanish. English-speaking Hispanics are language-neutral, meaning they don’t have a preferred language for media communication.  They do, however, want to see their lives portrayed in the media they consume, particularly on TV, and may simply continue to watch Spanish-language TV.

Clearly, Univision has paid close attention to this critical demographic and its desires, and this evolution shows a lot of promise.

Univision’s success has been built on programs such as the telenovela “Amores Verdaderos” (True Love) which outperformed English-language competition. Other successful programs included the Youthfulness Award  show for Spanish speaking celebrities, Univision’s “Premios Juventud” which reached nearly 10 million viewers.

As competitors attempt to claw their way up, Univision is not slowing down. It is ranked #1 in the country, reaching 96 percent of all Hispanic households in the United States. As more U.S.-born Hispanics continue to tune in to things they relate to and care about, Spanish language television will continue to have a significant impact on people’s lives. Univision can remain a fierce competitor among the top English language networks as long as it continues to deliver innovative programming appealing to highly desirable and diverse groups. Competition will increase as English language networks explore opportunities to tap into Spanish language programming.

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