July 25, 2011, 6:40 pm
By TANZINA VEGA
Univision Communications, the largest Spanish language network in the United States, has completed its sale of commercial time ahead of the 2011-12 season with a total volume estimated to be between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion.
“We’ve hit a new benchmark in terms of dollar volume for sure,” said David Lawenda, the president of advertising sales and marketing at Univision. “This is the biggest upfront we’ve had in the company’s history.” The network has sold 75 to 80 percent of the total inventory available.
Mr. Lawenda attributed the network’s success to advertisers who were paying more attention to the growing Hispanic population in the United States.
According to the United States Census, the Hispanic growth rate for the period between 2000 and 2006 was three times the growth rate of the total population. The Hispanic population in the country now exceeds 50 million.
In 2008, Univision created an internal consulting group to help advertisers better understand the Hispanic market, Mr. Lawenda said. Over the last six quarters, the company has attracted 150 new brand advertisers. An additional 40 advertisers have signed up since the upfront presentations that were held in May, he said.
Some of the newer and most successful brand categories include technology, automotive and media.
Univision Communications owns Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision. In October, the company completed an agreement with the Mexican television giant, Grupo Televisa, one of the biggest producers of Spanish language soap operas in the world. Under the terms of the agreement, Grupo Televisa would invest $1.2 billion in Univision in exchange for a minimum 5 percent stake and a new content licensing agreement.