For over 70 years, Univision has been revolutionizing the American media landscape.
Explore our interactive timeline highlighting Univision’s milestones.
A group led by Cortez’s son-in-law, Emilio Nicolas, Sr., purchases KCOR-TV for $200,000 which leads to the launch of two new companies that eventually become Univision.read more >
The group launches its second station, KMEX-TV, Channel 34, in Los Angeles.read more >
The company enters the New York City market with the launch of its third TV station, WXTV-TV, Channel 41, in Paterson, N.J.
The acquisition sets in motion two companies—Spanish International Communication Corporation (SICC) and Spanish International Network (SIN)—that eventually will become Univision. KCOR-TV’s new owners briefly change the station’s call letters to KUAL before permanently changing them to KWEX.
The group that purchased KCOR-TV would become known as Spanish International Communication Corporation (SICC). Emilio Azcàrraga Vidaurreta, a Mexican mogul and owner of the company that was the forerunner to Grupo Televisa, Mexico’s largest broadcaster, owned 20 percent of SICC. In addition, Azcàrraga separately formed and wholly-owned Spanish International Network (SIN), which would supply programming, originating in Mexico, to SICC stations. SIN was the first network in the United States to air in a language other than English. Azcàrraga’s involvement in SICC and SIN marked the beginning of a decades-long relationship between Televisa and Univision that, with countless successes, changes, twists, controversies, and a split or two along the way, continues today. Emilio Nicolas, Sr. became general manager of the San Antonio station, while Rene Anselmo, another of the original investors in the station, would become the first president of both SIN and SICC.
Luis Patino, President and General Manager of Univision Local Media Group in Los Angeles, which includes KMEX-TV, notes that those call letters nearly became the identifier of the San Antonio TV station when Emilio Nicolas and his SICC partners bought it in 1961. However, with growth clearly already on their minds, they ultimately chose to reserve “MEX” for their future expansion into Los Angeles, a sprawling market with the nation’s largest Mexican American population.
They just flipped the ‘M’ to arrive at KWEX as call letters for the San Antonio station and did, in fact, save KMEX for the 1962 launch of their new Spanish-language station in L.A.
The company expands into Miami, Fresno, Albuquerque, Chicago, and Houston over the next several years.read more >
The OTI Festival becomes the company's first of many live musical events.read more >
Ahead of its competitors, Spanish International becomes the first to connect affiliated stations via satellite, allowing for simultaneous broadcasts.read more >
Spanish International becomes the first TV network to broadcast the FIFA World Cup in the United States.read more >
Galavision launches as the nation's first Spanish-language cable network. Initially a premium channel, it becomes a basic cable network by the 1980s.
The company acquires an independent TV station in Miami and begins operating it as WLTV-TV, Channel 23, its fourth station. Over the next several years, SICC (the station-owning entity) expands with stations in markets including Fresno, while SIN (the programming entity) begins to sign on other network affiliate stations in additional markets, including Albuquerque, Chicago, and Houston.
SIN broadcasts and organizes America’s entry into the OTI Festival, an Ibero-American spinoff of the popular Eurovision Song Contest. The event is an early forerunner to the thousands of live concerts, competitions, awards shows, and other musical performances—”tentpoles” in industry parlance—that will fill the network’s schedule in the years ahead and become a programming genre synonymous with the Univision brand.
The Spanish International companies (the station-owning SICC and its programming supplier and network entity, SIN) are the first in the nation—ahead of competing mainstream networks ABC, NBC, and CBS—to interconnect owned and affiliated stations via a national satellite network, permitting local stations to air the same programs simultaneously. This development also will enable cable TV distributors to carry a national SIN feed.
In 1974, an SIN subsidiary, Magnaverde Productions, had aired World Cup matches in the United States and Canada, but only via closed-circuit on large screens in theaters and auditoriums, reaching approximately 500,000 fans in 40 cities. Four years later, with the World Cup in Argentina, Magnaverde again would air many of the choice soccer matches via closed-circuit on large screens in select cities. However, some of those 1978 matches—10 of 38 in the final round—aired for the first time on broadcast TV in the U.S., via Spanish International’s 15 stations, which then covered an estimated 72 percent of all Spanish-speaking consumers in the country.
The company’s "Destino 80" campaign promotes participation in the 1980 U.S. Census.read more >
The company's NY antenna is denied a spot on the World Trade Center, prompting a hunger strike from President Rene Anselmo.read more >
SIN launches a new national nightly news program, "Noticiero Nacional SIN," replacing the nightly newscast being aired from Televisa in Mexico.
The network first airs “Sábado Gigante,” a fun weekly variety show which sets the Guinness World Record for longest-running variety TV show.read more >
Hallmark Cards and partner investors acquire SICC and later, SIN.
The company—TV stations and network alike—is renamed Univision.read more >
Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas become co-anchors of the national newscast, "Noticiero Univision." They will be the longest-running nightly news pairing in U.S. broadcast history.read more >
The network debuts daytime talk show "El Show de Cristina" (The Cristina Show), which will run on Univision for 21 years.read more >
"Premio Lo Nuestro" (Our Awards), recognizing the hottest Latin music, begins its three-decades-and-counting run on Univision Network.read more >
The community service campaign employs a telethon, a documentary, and PSAs featuring Latino athletes and even Big Bird, to promote participation in the 1980 U.S. Census. It is the first U.S. Census in which the designation “Hispanic” appears. The network and local stations will conduct similar, comprehensive education campaigns to inform viewers about every decennial Census to follow.
Rene Anselmo, president of SICC and SIN, stages a two-week hunger strike in front of the World Trade Center to protest the exclusion of WXTV’s antenna from the top of the WTC, which he considers a blatant slight to New York City’s Spanish-speaking residents. Although the tower request eventually is granted—and Anselmo deliberately pays the multi-million-dollar fee in stacks of $20 bills—the station will place its backup antenna atop WTC, leaving its primary tower in place on the Empire State Building, which will be profoundly significant following the 9/11 terror attacks 21 years later.
The frenetically fun show is hosted by Mario Kreutzberger, under his stage name Don Francisco. Including its initial run in Chile, the show airs for 53 years and some 2,800 consecutive weekly episodes. Its final episode on Univision Network airs September 19, 2015.
Bert Delgado, Univision’s SVP of Production & Technical Operations, was technical director for that first episode of “Sábado Gigante” produced by Miami’s WLTV. “I remember lots of pressure, lots of stress,” he says of that particular show in April, 1986. “We were a small station trying to produce one of the most famous shows in Central and South America.” But the show went off beautifully, as it would on Univision for nearly 30 years. “Sábado Gigante” was the rare show, Delgado feels, that could bridge the cultural differences and various national origins of our country’s diverse Hispanic population. He also considers it a groundbreaking show that spurred the rise of Univision at a critical point and helped put the network on the map.
The audience involved everyone, and the theme was for everyone. It crossed international lines.
Hallmark Cards and its partner investors beat out several bidders to acquire SICC. The new owners soon begin acquiring additional SICC stations not included in the initial purchase. They also go on to purchase Spanish International Network from Televisa and negotiate new programming terms that give SICC and SIN the first option to acquire Televisa programs.
Over the years, news viewers have been overheard announcing something along the lines of, “Well, if Jorge and Maria Elena didn’t say it, then I don’t believe it”—which underscores the level of trust and faith viewers have in the company’s news programs and anchors.
“A lot has to do with the fact that many Hispanics see themselves in Jorge and Maria Elena. Both are success stories, but at the same time they had essentially the same beginnings many of us have had. Jorge was an immigrant. Maria Elena was born in L.A. and came from an immigrant family. Everything they did, everything Jorge’s team does now, reflects that experience and I think Latinos understand and relate to that. I think that was key to their success and in turn translated to success for our company,” explains Daniel Morcate, Chief Writer for Univision News.
Gabriela Tristan started at Univision as an intern while still in high school and joined the company full time after she graduated from college in 1997. She is now Vice President and Director of Univision News Production. She credits experience for the deep connection Univision’s news teams have with viewers—both the experience and credibility of national and local anchors and reporters, but also to the often-lifelong experience viewers have had watching Univision news.
At 6:30, no matter what, the TV was on in the household of people who were growing up, whose abuelitas were watching, whose parents were watching. Now they’ve grown up and still watch. It all goes to trust.
The groundbreaking daytime talk show is hosted by Cuban-American journalist, Cristina Saralegui. She concludes each day with her infectious double-thumbs-up salute and signature catchphrase, “pa’lante, pa’lante, pa’tras ni pa’ coger impulso” (forward, forward, don’t step back, not even to pick up the pace).
Today, Univision Network occupies sprawling, state-of-the-art production studios in the Miami suburb of Doral. However, Jorge Dominguez, Univision’s SVP Creative Director, recalls the modest production beginnings during the network’s expansion in the late 1980s. The pilot episode of “El Show de Cristina,” was shot in a Miami church banquet hall, episodes of “Sábado Gigante” in the rented studios of the local PBS station, and “TV Mujer” in the garage bays of Univision’s small transmitter facility in Miami. “My job as a set designer was to make something look better, more expensive, more refined than it really was. “Nobody knows that what I built was foam board or plywood and would basically roll out of the way when we were done.”
It was very humble beginnings, but the magic of TV is that as long as it looks professionally done on camera, nobody knows the story of how it’s being produced.
In its second year, 1990, “Premio Lo Nuestro” begins awarding a lifetime achievement award, which first goes to Celia Cruz. Other stars who have since received the honor include Ricky Martin, Ana Gabriel, Gloria Estefan, Emilio Estefan, Luis Miguel, Marc Anthony, and Romeo Santos.
The network's news operation, Noticias Univision, relocates to the company's new facility in the Miami area.read more >
In collaboration with Univision and Telemundo, Nielsen develops a separate sample to measure Hispanic viewing across networks.read more >
Hallmark Cards sells Univision to investors led by media veteran A. Jerrold Perenchio, with Grupo Televisa and Venevision as minority owners.read more >
News magazine show "Primer Impacto" launches. The show is also home to the astrology segments of the legendary Walter Mercado.
California voters approve Proposition 187 which prohibited undocumented immigrants from using many public services, spurring activism in the Latino community.read more >
Univision becomes a publicly-traded company, under the symbol UVN, on the New York Stock Exchange.
"Despierta América" (Wake Up America) debuts. The morning show's format is a lively, jam-packed mix of news and entertainment.
Univision Network stages its first Upfront presentation for major advertisers, ad agencies, and media.read more >
Univision Network launches "El Gordo y La Flaca" (The Fat Man and the Skinny Woman), a weekday entertainment news show hosted by Raul De Molina and Lili Estefan.
The network broadcasts an unprecedented 24-hour live spectacular, "Feliz Milenio!," celebrating the countdown to 2000 in every time zone around the world.
The news division’s cross-country move from California to Florida coincided with Operation Desert Storm, marking the start of combat in the Gulf War. Maria Elena Salinas, then co-anchor with Jorge Ramos, recalls the intense challenges of covering the war while sets and equipment remained in transit or packed in crates. Crew members crawled around on the floor moving cables and wires underneath the temporary news desk during live newscasts. “We’d just moved in and had a little makeshift set inside the newsroom,” she says. “We were on for hours and hours, and those were the types of instances where the working relationship with your co-anchor is important.”
When you’re a journalist, you don’t even worry about whether you’ve moved into your house or you’re still in suitcases, and your furniture hasn’t arrived, because you do what you have to do to cover the story.
This effort is the direct result of Hispanic under-representation in Nielsen’s Total U.S. sample, particularly among Spanish speaking households. This key initiative represents a milestone in the evolution of Hispanic media and marketing, as it enables the accurate measurement of U.S. Hispanics across language segments for both Spanish language and English language television audiences, nationally as well as in local markets.
Jerrold Perenchio was a famed Hollywood insider who, among many accomplishments in a storied career, was credited with launching Elton John’s U.S. stardom, representing Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Ronald Reagan, orchestrating the “Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and promoting the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
However, despite his years as a producer and promoter in fields known for flash, and spectacle, Perenchio would manage Univision in a decidedly under-the-radar fashion. In fact, his management philosophy was famously summed up in “Perenchio’s Rules of the Road,” a list of 20 maxims, printed in ALL CAPS, that he would share with the company’s executives. Rule #1: “Stay clear of the press.” The rules were no joke to Perenchio. When the head of Univision Network gave an interview to a broadcast-industry trade magazine without permission, Perenchio fined him $25,000.
Perenchio, who died in 2017, was an avid art collector and bequeathed his $500 million collection, including works by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Rule #1: Stay clear of the press. No interviews, no panels, no speeches, no comments. Stay out of the spotlight, it fades your suit. Only promote the brands.
Though ultimately declared unconstitutional by federal courts, the ballot initiative prohibiting undocumented immigrants from using many public services including schools and establishing a citizenship screening system, caused sweeping action.
Arturo Vargas is CEO of NALEO, a national organization of Latino policymakers, and CEO of NALEO Educational Fund, a nonprofit promoting civic engagement among Hispanic Americans. Univision has for decades partnered with the organization on engagement and education campaigns.
Vargas refers to Prop 187 as the “grandfather” of other anti-immigrant measures to come at the state and federal levels after 1994. NALEO and Univision partnered on numerous citizenship and voter registration initiatives in the years following Prop 187. One of them generated more than 3,000 citizenship applications in a single day from a single event. “After 1994, we were able to really drive people to citizenship events and provide them with information. They were extremely motivated,” Vargas says. He compares the “urgency to engage” triggered by Prop 187 with the immense activism and action in the Hispanic community in response to the anti-immigrant fervor leading up to and after the 2016 presidential election.
Throughout the second half of the 1990s, we had hundreds of thousands of Latinos in California naturalize. If you look at California today, it is the state it is in part because of the growth of the Latino electorate.
This event marked Univision’s inaugural participation in the broadcast industry rite and represented a new level of engagement, legitimacy and increased business with advertisers, as well as a step toward parity with mainstream broadcast peers.
The 2000 U.S. Census, which Univision promotes heavily on-air and throughout its communities, reveals Hispanics to be the country's largest minority group.read more >
The company launches Univision.com, the Internet destination for U.S. Hispanics.
Univision acquires stations that become broadcast network TeleFutura, creating a duopoly in seven of the nation's largest Hispanic markets.read more >
Univision is one of two NYC stations that remain on air during 9/11, broadcasting critical information to residents in English and Spanish.read more >
Univision Music Group launches, establishing the company's first record label. In 2008, Univision sells the music group to Universal.
Copa Univision, the company's amateur local soccer tournament launches in San Diego, expanding to 14 markets nationwide within a few years.
Univision enters the Puerto Rico market through agreements to operate WLII-TV, WSUR-TV, and WSTE-TV. Univision will later purchase all three stations.
Univision acquires Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation and renames it Univision Radio, bringing the original KCOR station back into the fold.read more >
Music award show "Premios Juventud" (Youth Awards), debuts, catering to Univision's younger audience.read more >
"Selena VIVE!" (Selena Lives!), becomes the most-watched Spanish-language TV special in U.S. history.read more >
The Latin Grammy Awards broadcast moves to Univision Network from CBS. In 2018, Univision and the Latin Recording Academy sign a new 10-year agreement.read more >
Univision Network is added to the Nielsen Television Index alongside the major English-language broadcast networks.
Massive immigration marches mobilize millions across the country for nearly three months and are catalysts for sweeping civic engagement among Hispanics.read more >
Nielsen eliminates the separate Hispanic TV sample which enables side-by-side audience comparisons based on the Total U.S. sample, regardless of language.read more >
Reality beauty pageant "Nuestra Belleza Latina" (Our Latin Beauty, or NBL) debuts, with contestants each season vying for a Univision presenting contract.read more >
Univision is acquired by Broadcasting Media Partners Inc. for $12.3 billion. Haim Saban becomes the chairman and Univision is once again privately held.
Univision stages the first-ever U.S. Presidential debates broadcast in Spanish with simultaneous translation of questions and candidates' answers.read more >
"Al Punto" (To the Point) launches, hosted by Jorge Ramos. The Sunday morning political talk show's first guests are Sen. Mel Martinez and Sen. Bob Menendez.read more >
The series finale of telenovela "Destilando Amor" (Distilling Love) attracts close to 9 million viewers (a still-standing record for a telenovela episode on Univision).
Univision announces it will for the first time seek compensation from cable and satellite providers for rights to deliver the company's channels.read more >
KMEX in L.A. becomes the No. 1 most-watched broadcast station in the country, regardless of language, among adults ages 18-49.
Univision launches the campaign "Una Nueva Era: Television Digital" (A New Era: Digital Television) to prepare viewers for the swap from analog to digital TV.read more >
The company launches Univision Studios, based in Miami, devoted to producing programming for the many Univision platforms and diversifying the networks' content.
The 2000 Census highlights the dramatic growth of America’s Hispanic population which increased some 60 percent in 10 years to 35.3 million. Further, the Census predicts a U.S. Hispanic population of 100 million—one-fourth of the nation’s population—within 50 years.
The scale and clout of the growing U.S. Hispanic population, as demonstrated by the 2000 Census, caught the rapt attention of advertisers. In fact, Claudia Granados, VP of Network Sales, considers it a momentous turning point in the network’s ongoing and often challenging mission to educate advertisers on the Hispanic community’s purchasing power.
Corporate America didn’t really understand the U.S. Hispanic market until the 2000 Census. That census turned it around, and marketers suddenly were like, ‘Wow, this is real.’
Univision completes the acquisition of 13 full-power broadcast stations, and minority stake in four others, from USA Broadcasting. The stations, which give Univision a coveted broadcast duopoly in seven of the nation’s largest Hispanic markets, will form the foundation of TeleFutura, Univision’s new broadcast network that debuts January 14, 2002, and will subsequently be rebranded as UniMas.
Because Univision WXTV’s primary transmission tower is on top of the Empire State building and not the World Trade Center, it is one of only two New York City broadcast stations that remains on the air in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To provide critical information to viewers throughout the area, the station broadcasts for a time in both English and Spanish. Univision also helps the city’s ABC station return to the air, using a transmission tower recently purchased through Univision’s acquisition of USA Broadcasting.
Univision completes its $3.1 billion acquisition of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s largest Spanish-language radio broadcaster. Acquisition of the 68 stations—two of which will be sold as a condition of the government’s approval of the deal—is completed after the 15-month review, and HBC is renamed Univision Radio.
One of the radio stations Univision acquired in the acquisition of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation is KCOR in San Antonio, the station Raoul Cortez launched in 1946. After 42 years, it finally was reunited under the same ownership as its former sister station, KWEX-TV (which Cortez launched in 1955 as KCOR-TV, the first full-time Spanish-language TV station in the United States).
“Premios Juventud” featured major Latino stars, breakout performances, and awards in music, sports, movies, fashion, and other areas. Fans vote online for their favorites in several unique categories, including Best Song for Dancing, Best Song to Chill, Best Fashionista, and—several years into the show’s continuing run—Best Instagram. The 2020 edition was the industry’s first live awards show during the COVID-19 pandemic, airing to a virtual audience.
“Selena VIVE!” (Selena Lives!), a tribute concert from Houston marking the 10th anniversary of the Tejano superstar’s murder, nets Univision Network a 35.9 Nielsen household rating and ranks as the most-watched Spanish-language TV special in U.S. history. The live concert at Reliant Stadium attracts 70,000 attendees.
Bert Delgado, Univision’s SVP of Production & Technical Operations, directed the first Latin Grammy Awards broadcast on Univision Network. He recalls the immense pressure felt by the Univision team of being associated with such a well-respected organization, as well as the need to prove Univision’s abilities and credibility. But what he remembers most is the energy and color. The goal was, he says, “Show who we Hispanics are. We produced it for the Hispanic viewer. We had dancers in the hall and in the aisles. We had dancers and lots of colorful things coming onto that stage, off the stage, and all around. Our thought was, ‘Look, this is big, and we have got to make it look great and celebrate our music and celebrate Hispanics.'”
That first production not only began a successful, long-running relationship with the Latin Grammys and the Latin Recording Academy, it boosted Univision’s profile as the network for high-energy live events. “It was a fantastic show, a proud moment to be part of the word ‘Grammy,'” Delgado remembers.
We, Univision, walked out different from that show.
The rallies nationwide were spurred by the passage of a bill by the U.S. House of Representatives that would have increased penalties for illegal immigration and made it a felony to help undocumented immigrants enter or remain in the country. The protests and legislation, which did not pass in the Senate, spurred civic engagement programs—including “¡Ya es Hora, Ciudadanía!” (It’s time for Citizenship!) and “Ya Es Hora, Hágase Contar” (“It’s Time, Make Yourself Count”)—that Univision launched in conjunction with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and other organizations to educate, engage, and empower Hispanics on citizenship and voter registration.
With sizeable growth in the U.S Hispanic population and commensurable increase in Hispanic homes in the Total U.S. sample, Nielsen eliminates the separate Hispanic TV sample which was launched in 1992 (Nielsen Hispanic Television Index). This enables side-by-side audience comparisons based on the Total U.S. sample across all networks, regardless of language.
In the 15-year span from 1992 to 2007, Spanish language TV advertising revenues increased nearly 14X ($3B vs. 220 million).
Starting with its 11th season in 2018, hosted by season one winner Alejandra Espinoza, the show undergoes a format makeover and introduces a new tagline: “sin tallas, sin límites, sin excusas” (without sizes, without limits, and with no excuses).
Federico Larino, SVP, Sports Entertainment, was a producer and later executive producer of “Nuestra Belleza Latina” for several years and recalls being “busted” for putting #NBL on the screen during an episode of the show’s second. He was at home watching the show, which had been pre-taped hours earlier, when a network executive called demanding to know “what was that garbage on the screen?” Larino explained to him what a hashtag was and why he’d made the call to keep it on the screen—it was a reality show, after all, with viewers voting online—but he was nevertheless instructed to strike it. So Larino rushed back to the station and deleted the hashtag for the episode’s West Coast airing. Larino now considers it a career highlight to have been called out for his foresight, back during the nascent days of social media’s influence and before hashtags were required on-screen fare.
I’m really proud of that hashtag. I put it on my resume.
The first debate, among Democratic primary candidates, is held Sept. 9. A debate among Republican primary candidates, rescheduled after only one candidate agrees to appear, is conducted on Dec. 9 with nearly full participation of the Republican primary field.
Rosemary Mercedes, Univision’s Chief Communications Officer, recalls weeks of uncertainty leading up to the first primary debate, as well as a few moments of panic soon after it began:
“There had been a lot of back and forth. For the candidates, it was a question of, ‘Do they need to do this? Will it be more of a liability?’ But then, it happened. The candidates came. We also had about 150 journalists from all across the world who came to watch that first one in real-time. Obviously, we aired it live and in Spanish, so there was the element of simultaneous translation, and getting the right feeds to the people in the newsroom. And there was also the element of, we’d never done this before, which was pretty crazy and scary and fun and adrenaline-pumping.
Finally, the debate begins. But the audio doesn’t start in the media center. Silence. It’s one of those moments where your heart goes into your toes, out your ears, and now it’s just hanging out in your hand. Fortunately, I found Mike Karsch, an amazing production person and one of the best anywhere, and he got the sound back. In all, it was only a couple of minutes. But it felt like an eternity!”
Mercedes considers that first Presidential debate in Spanish to be one of the biggest moments in Univision’s history and illustrative of the company’s pioneering spirit.
Univision’s roots are bold. Launching a network in Spanish in the 1960s? Putting up a Spanish-language debate for Presidential candidates? That’s pretty bold. I think people thought we couldn’t do it back then. But we did. It’s all part of this company’s legacy of being risk-takers.
In her more than two decades with the company, Gabriela Tristan, Vice President and Director of News Production, has witnessed a distinct change in how Univision’s relationship of trust with viewers has eventually, slowly translated to mainstream credibility nationally, particularly in the political sphere. Tristan notes that the network for years received countless declines for interviews with politicians. And she recalls requesting an interview with a certain government official for political talk show “Al Punto,” hosted by Jorge Ramos, and receiving a written response addressed to Mr. Al Punto. But Tristan says she believes the days when political newsmakers could ignore the company, or get away with not knowing the name of its anchor, are behind it.
Now politicians understand that Univision is the place to be, where you make important announcements, where you give that important interview.
By doing so, Univision chooses the FCC’s retransmission-consent option over the alternative must-carry rules. Over the next 18 months, Univision will successfully negotiate carriage agreements with 150 pay-TV providers and reach financial terms reflecting the value of Univision’s programming and its Spanish-speaking viewers to those companies’ bottom lines.
The prolonged, multi-faceted education campaign across all of Univision’s TV and radio stations, digital sites, and communities nationwide aims to prepare Hispanic viewers for the government-mandated switch from analog to digital television. A disproportionately large percentage of Spanish-language viewers watch TV over-the-air, which required a digital converter following the switch to digital, originally scheduled for Feb. 4, 2009, and extended to June 1, 2009.
Univision Network premieres “Mira Quien Baila” (Look Who’s Dancing), a Spanish-language dance competition pairing celebrities with professional dancers
Univision Network transmits World Cup matches originating from South Africa in High Definition, representing the company’s inaugural HD productions.
“Soy Tu Dueña” (Woman of Steel) becomes Univision’s most-watched telenovela, averaging 5.4 million viewers each episode and 7.3 million for the finale.
Univision launches tlnovelas, a digital cable and satellite network devoted to telenovelas, and FOROtv, a 24-hour cable news channel originating from Mexico.
Univision Deportes Network (UDN) debuts and becomes the leading Spanish-language sports network and a formidable competitor to mainstream English-language sports nets.read more >
Univision debuts TeletónUSA, a 32-hour live event benefiting Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletónUSA (CRIT USA) which treats neurological and musculoskeletal disorders.
UniMás is introduced as the new name of TeleFutura, and the broadcast network begins to target millennial viewers with a format heavy on sports, action, and drama programs.
Univision wins its first ratings sweeps victory, ranking No. 1 among all broadcast networks, regardless of language, in the 18-49 and 18-34 demographics.
Fusion, a cable network aimed at English-speaking Hispanic viewers, is launched by Univision and ABC News. Univision will acquire ABC’s stake in 2016.
Univision partners with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez to launch El Rey, an English-language cable network specializing in grind-house style content.
Univision Network and UDN break Spanish-language viewership records—which still stand today—of the FIFA World Cup on U.S. television.
“Premios Univision Deportes” premieres, an annual award show honoring athletes, teams, and heroes off the field who use sports as a vehicle for social change.
Univision NOW, an over-the-top (OTT) digital streaming service, debuts, giving subscribers access to live programming, local-station feeds, and on-demand content.
Univision ends its business partnership with the Trump Organization following anti-immigrant comments made by Mr. Trump during his presidential bid announcement.read more >
A deal with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), makes Univision Deportes the Spanish-language home of European national team soccer in the U.S.
Univision and Colombian producer Patricio Wills launch W Studios, a joint venture developing edgy, action-packed primetime series like “La Piloto” and “Amar a Muerte.”
Univision and Netflix enter a programming partnership, and “Narcos” becomes the first Netflix series to air on U.S. broadcast TV. The two companies then co-produce “El Chapo.”
Soccer tournament Copa America Centenario helps UDN become the first Spanish-language sports network to rank No. 1 ahead of ESPN and all other competitors.read more >
Univision acquires Gawker Media’s digital assets and rebrands them as Gizmodo Media Group (GMG).
“La Fuerza de Creer” (The Power of Believing), a social-impact miniseries, launches. The show underscores the importance of young children’s early brain development.
The company unveils its “Centro Nacional Ventana Al Tiempo” (National Weather Center) facility in Houston, a state-of-the-art resource for weather and environmental news.read more >
Univision publicly defends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program upon hearing the Trump Administration’s intention to end it.
Ilia Calderón makes history as the first Afro-Latina anchor of a U.S. broadcast evening newscast, reflecting the vast diversity within the U.S. Hispanic community.
Univision launches “Se Habla USA,” a campaign promoting the value of diversity, inclusion, Hispanic culture, and Spanish-language in America.read more >
Univision signs on to an Amicus Brief in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Via the “Vota Conmigo” (Vote with Me) campaign, Univision supports GOTV efforts for the midterm elections, which saw a 96% turnout increase among Hispanics from 2014.
Univision integrates its radio stations, numerous digital audio platforms, and live-music series under a single brand, the Uforia Audio Network.
Univision sells Gizmodo Media Group (GMG) and The Onion to private equity firm Great Hill Partners.
Univision announces the relaunch of its multi-platform sports media brand as TUDN.
Marco Liceaga, SVP of Marketing and Promotions for Univision Deportes, says the network’s identity as the source for live soccer and related programming emerged quickly after its 2012 launch, and soccer soon accounted for nearly all of UDN’s programming, intentionally. He notes that UDN’s position as the number-one U.S. network for soccer is underscored and validated by the significant number of English-speaking viewers of the network’s Spanish-language soccer coverage. For instance, about 6 million of the 15 million viewers who tuned to UDN for the 2018 European soccer federation Champions League were English-language viewers.
We have become the final authority when it comes to soccer, because we have the biggest experts and the biggest soccer portfolio in the U.S.
In a statement announcing the decision to sever ties with the Trump Organization, the company declared: “At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12 or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.” Trump sued Univision for $500 million for breach of contract, and the suit was settled out of court in 2016.
Marco Liceaga calls the network’s historic ratings win in the summer of 2016 “one of our proudest moments. It was the first time ever that any network that isn’t ESPN occupied the top spot, and that was a big milestone.”
Unexpectedly, another event that shaped UDN and its emergence as the authority on all things soccer on U.S. television, Liceaga says, was losing the Spanish-language broadcast rights for the every-four-years FIFA World Cup from 2018 through 2026. Although initially a shocking disappointment, the reality has been that, “Because we’re not tied to such a big property with such a gigantic price tag and effort… Univision has put our resources and investments to work,” Liceaga says. “That’s how we went from having eight Mexican League teams to having 16. That’s how we acquired the Champions League rights. That’s how we renewed major league soccer, and how we renewed the U.S. national team. Instead of buying something that’s 31 days every four years, we made sure we’ve had 365 days (of soccer content) for four years.”
It was the first time ever that any network that isn’t ESPN occupied the top spot.
A series of destructive hurricanes—including Hurricane Harvey that devastated the center’s hometown of Houston—would make 2017 the most expensive hurricane season in U.S. history. It also was a period that, while severely challenging Univision’s news teams and resources, illustrated the company’s dedication to its communities and the importance of the life-and-death coverage it provides.
“Hurricane Harvey was a huge test. It was a test of the human capacity to withstand adversity. A test of the community’s spirit.” says David Loving, former President and GM of Univision’s Houston operations. He notes Univision’s KXLN Channel 45 in Houston provided around-the-clock coverage of Harvey and its impact for nearly a solid week and frequent coverage of recovery for over a year.
Then Hurricane Irma hit Florida, a major earthquake struck Mexico, fires ravaged portions of California, and Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico—all within a matter of weeks in the summer and fall of 2017.
Selymar Colon, Univision’s then VP and Editor-in-Chief, News Digital, points to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico as case in point for the power, reach, and immediacy of digital media. In the “total blackout” on the island in the aftermath of the storm, she says, “We were hearing from people saying, ‘I haven’t been able to talk to my family in 24 hours.’ And I was seeing the same questions on social media: ‘Can somebody help me contact this person or that person?’ At that point, I remember, we proposed to the team, ‘Let’s do it. We have reporters on the ground that we are talking to on a daily basis. Let’s ask them to be the connectors with that audience between the mainland and the island, and let’s start to connect families.’” Before long, she reports, the company had received more than 10,000 responses, helping directly connect 100 families.
It was such a relief for those families to at least know that their loved ones were okay. And for us, it was a meaningful thing, and it was a part of Univision’s service journalism.
The campaign would grow to become a digital-first brand for young bilingual Latinos who identify as 100% American and 100% Latino. The brand encourages its audience to define their Latinidad on their own terms, while honoring the traditions and legacies they were raised with.
Se Habla USA was not only the company’s answer to actively engaging young bilingual and bicultural Latinos with Univision content and initiatives, but just as importantly, it engaged the youngest generation of employees who grew up watching the network and felt the calling to usher in a new chapter in the company’s history that speaks directly to our own hyphenated experience as Hispanic-Americans.
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