By: Lynn Leahey
Consumer research led to a strategic refocus at Univision that includes more talent competitions, bio-series, reality shows and crime dramas alongside telenovelas. The result? Univision out-delivered one or more of the English-language broadcast networks on every night among Adults 18-34 and on three out of every four nights among Adults 18-49 during the February 2017 Sweeps period. Lourdes Diaz, President of Entertainment for Univision Communications Inc., joined the company last October, and has been a key force in driving the network’s recent success. Here, Diaz shares the net’s new programming strategy.
Cynopsis: How has Univision’s strategy shifted since you joined the network?
Lourdes Diaz: At Univision, our mission is to serve Hispanic America, and as our community leads the country’s transformation into a minority majority population, we will continue to offer more content that is reflective of their lifestyle and habits. Which is why, one of the primary shifts we are making is a more holistic programming strategy. For example, we are taking full action not only in giving our audience the content they want, but scheduling it strategically so programming blocks flow in a way that not only satisfies but builds audience hour-over-hour. We are also working closer than ever with Televisa to refresh the content and focus on stories that reflect the Hispanic-American experience. We are pleased with our new approach and look forward to premiering more of our new programming including El Chapo and reality series La Reina de La Canción in April, and La Doble Vida de Estela Carillo in May.
Cynopsis: What insights/experiences did you bring to Univision that has helped drive its recent success?
Diaz: Throughout my career, I have worked in Hollywood, in Europe and Latin America, and joining Univision has enabled me to tap all parts of my brain and experience to deliver along with my teams the best content possible. Curating fresh and exciting new programming that attracts diverse audiences has been one of the benchmarks of my experience, and Univision has all the pieces in its robust portfolio; I am complementing that by amplifying our strengths and bringing it all together in a cohesive way.
Cynopsis: What research has helped guide you, and how has it been different than data in the past?
Diaz: Univision recently conducted extensive consumer research which yielded many insights, including that multi-generational co-viewing was something our audience desired. Taking that into account, we implemented our new 8p non-scripted strategy, kicking off with the recently-premiered Pequeños Gigantes USA to indulge our fans. This year we will also introduce more unscripted formats, competitions, game shows and reality series, modern and compelling dramas, bio-series and gritty crime dramas.
Cynopsis: What kinds of programming is most resonating with your audience?
Diaz: Our audience wants to see more authentic and relatable stories. They want shorter formats with character-driven narratives that depict women in a position of strength – stories that are true to the Hispanic-American experience resonate with them more than the traditional love triangle or conventional fairy tales of yesteryear. We’ve seen this come to life with Vino El Amor, which is one of the highest-rated telenovelas on the air in Spanish-language television today. Shot in Napa Valley with bits of bilingual dialogue, Vino el Amor deals with immigration and working women, and tells the story of love and the modern challenges of an immigrant family’s American dream. The plotline and characters are relatable and the audience has responded very positively.
Cynopsis: What changes has the Spanish-language audience undergone that would account for a shift in viewing preferences?
Diaz: We know our audience is largely bilingual and is a sophisticated consumer of content on various platforms and languages. They are mainstream except they consume in English and Spanish – and now more than ever, their options for viewing are endless. All audiences – no matter the language – are being affected by the plethora of content options and viewing preferences are being impacted across the board.
Cynopsis: Has the presidential election impacted programming?
Diaz: No. As our CEO, Randy Falco, recently stated, our Univision News team will continue to cover the Trump administration with the rigor that we have brought to the coverage of every administration that preceded it. We approach this task without fear or favor and with one goal only – to ensure our audience is well-informed.
Source: Cynopsis Media