Univision

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For the proposed film format originally known as Univision, see Univisium.
Univision
Type Broadcast Television Network
Country United States
Availability Throughout the United States
Slogan Todos estamos con Univisión
(We All are with Univisión)
Estás en Casa
(You are at Home [used in Puerto Rico])
Siempre Contigo
(Always With You)
La Casa de Todos
(Everyone's House)
Broadcast area
United States
Puerto Rico
Owner Univision Communications, Inc.
Key people
Randy Falco (CEO); Isaac Lee (President, News); Alberto Ciurana (President of Programming and Content); Juan Carlos Rodriguez (President, Sports)
Launch date
September 30, 1962
Former names
Spanish International Network (1962–1986)
Official website
univision.com
Language Spanish

Univisión (Spanish pronunciation: [uniβiˈsjo̞n]) is an American Spanish language broadcast television network that is owned by Univision Communications. The network's programming is aimed at Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States; its programming includes telenovelas and other drama series, sports, sitcoms, reality and variety series, news programming, and imported Spanish-language feature films. It has one of the largest audience of Spanish-language television viewers in the world, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Univisión is headquartered in New York City,[1] and has its major studios, production facilities, and operations in the Miami suburb of Doral, Florida. In recent years, the network has reached viewership parity with the U.S.'s five major English language television networks; it often places a strong fifth, outranking The CW, with some fourth-place weekly placings, and as of 2012, even first place rankings for individual programs over all five English networks due to the network's consistent schedule of new telenovelas all 52 weeks of the year.

Univision is available on cable and satellite television throughout most of the country, with local stations in over 50 markets with large Hispanic and Latino populations and a national cable network feed that is distributed in markets without either the availability or the demand for a locally-based station. Most of these stations air full local newscasts and other local programming in addition to network shows; in major markets such as Los Angeles, New York City and Miami, the local newscasts carried by the network's owned-and-operated stations are equally competitive with their English-language counterparts ratings-wise. Chief operating officer Randy Falco (who was appointed in the position on June 29, 2011) has been in charge of the company since the departure of Univision Communications president and CEO Joe Uva in April 2010.[2]

History[edit]

Beginnings as Spanish International Network[edit]

In 1955, Raul Cortez founded KCOR-TV (channel 41, now KWEX-DT) in San Antonio, Texas; the station's call letters were later changed to KUAL-TV. The station was not profitable, and in 1961, Cortez sold it to a group headed by his son-in-law Emilio Nicolas, Sr. and Mexican entertainment mogul Emilio Azcárraga Vidaurreta. Nicolas had helped produce channel 41's variety programs, while Azcárraga was the owner of Telesistema Mexicano, forerunner of Televisa.

The new owners turned the station around, and in 1962, signed on KMEX-TV (channel 34) in Los Angeles; this was followed in 1968 by the sign-on of New York City area station WXTV (channel 41) in Paterson, New Jersey. These stations formed the nuclei of the Spanish International Network, the first television network in the United States to broadcast in a language other than English.

Over the next 20 years, SIN would acquire other high-rated Spanish-language television stations throughout the Western United States, and then expand the market to Miami, Florida (WLTV); San Francisco (KDTV); and a part-time affiliation in Chicago (WCIU-TV). In the mid-1970s, the network also began to distribute its national feed via satellite, first as a superstation-type feed of San Antonio's KWEX-TV, then as a general feed allowing cable television providers to carry the network at little cost on their systems. During the 1980s and in some cases, the late 1970s, Univision began affiliating with startup Spanish language stations in markets such as Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. In Chicago, SIN moved its programming to new full-time affiliate WSNS-TV (channel 44), which was eventually sold to Telemundo; by that point, the network, which had been relaunched as Univision, initially re-affiliated with WCIU (airing its programming only on evenings and weekends), before purchasing English language independent station WGBO (channel 66) in 1995.

Relaunch as Univision[edit]

SIN was renamed Univision in 1986, and its logo bore a resemblance to that used by Televisa.

A pivotal year for the station group and the network was 1986, when Nicolas sold his stake in the network to a partnership of Hallmark Cards and Televisa. The Federal Communications Commission had long wondered (and competitors to SIN had long proposed) that the relationship between SIN/Spanish International Communications and the owners of Televisa was impermissably tight. The FCC and the U.S. Justice Department eventually encouraged a sale of the network to a properly consitituted domestic organization. Spanish International Communications ultimately began discussions with prospective buyers, that culminated in Hallmark Cards buying the stations, and forming a new relationship with Televisa for the distribution of programs.

The new group renamed the network as Univision. Univision's new CEO, Joaquin Blaya, would sign contracts to carry two programs that would change the face of the network. Blaya signed Cristina Saralegui, who became the host of the long-running talk show Cristina, and Mario Kreutzberger – better known as Don Francisco – who brought his popular Chilean variety series Sábado Gigante to the network. Univision also began production of its first morning program, Mundo Latino, which was anchored by Cuban natives Lucy Pereda and Frank Moro; Moro left the network to move to Mexico to continue his career as a soap opera actor, the network then brought in Jorge Ramos to replace him.

In 1988, the network began to produce programs with a national audience in mind. The first such program, TV Mujer ("Woman TV"), was a magazine-formatted series aimed at American Hispanic females – originally anchored by Lucy Pereda and Gabriel Traversari – featuring a mix of cooking and entertainment segments. The following year, Pereda was replaced by Mexican-American Lauri Flores, who previously served as director of programming, promotions, special events and public information at the network's Houston, Texas affiliate KXLN-TV – where she also hosted a local community affairs program, Entre Nos. During Flores' tenure as host of TV Mujer, the program remained the #1 daytime show on Spanish-language television,[3] outperforming its competition in its time period by 33%. Telemundo's Dia a Dia, which debuted prior to the premiere of TV Mujer, saw its ratings diminish. Sábado Gigante model Jackie Nespral was added as host of TV Mujer for the program's final year; she was hired to serve as a fill-in co-host during Flores's maternity leave, befoew becoming a full-time host during the show's final season. TV Mujer inspired a series of other programs, including Hola, America and Al Mediodia, which never garnered the ratings of the original concept and were cancelled.

Revamp and competition with Telemundo in the 1990s[edit]

Univision logo, used from January 1, 1990 to December 31, 2012.

Univision later decided to expand its news programming to afternoons, launching Noticias y Mas ("News and More"), with Nespral; Ambrosio Hernandez; Myrka Dellanos and Raúl Peimbert as its hosts. Hernandez and Peimbert left Univision in the early 1990s to join Telemundo, while Nespral became co-host of the weekend edition of NBC's Today. Univision had other plans for the moribund show: the network revamped it, changed its name and its theme music, and hired a weekend reporter to be Dellanos' partner – Puerto Rican-born María Celeste Arrarás – who joined the program that was retooled as the newsmagazine series Primer Impacto.

In 1993, Jerry Perenchio, who purchased Univision from Hallmark a few months earlier, appointed Miguel Banojian to turn around the operations of the network's Los Angeles station (and West Coast flagship) KMEX, which generated a large portion of the company's revenue. 25-year-old Banojian was reassigned to manage KMEX from New York City owned-and-operated station (and East Coast flagship) WXTV, where he served as the station's news director. His outstanding results in Los Angeles positioned KMEX to become the first[citation needed] Spanish-language television station ever to outperform English-language network stations (NBC station KNBC, CBS station KCBS-TV, ABC station KABC-TV and Fox station KTTV), and overcame what had been Telemundo's national competitive edge against Univision.[citation needed] That year, Univision also acquired KXLN, the first Spanish-language television station in the Houston market.

2000s[edit]

In 2002, Univision entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Raycom Media to operate two television stations in Puerto Rico, WLII in Caguas and WSUR in Ponce. At the time, WLII had a longtime LMA with another Puerto Rican station, WSTE, which Univision maintained. Also around this time, Univision resumed its broadcast expansion by converting several television stations it acquired, including those in Raleigh, North Carolina (WUVC), Cleveland, Ohio (WQHS), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (WUVP) and Atlanta, Georgia (WUVG) – most of which were acquired from USA Broadcasting and had previously been affiliated with the Home Shopping Network. Both WLII and WSUR were sold to Univision Communications in 2005. Since that point, Univision also signed affiliation agreements with television stations owned by other media companies in cities such as Detroit, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Nashville and Kansas City – expanding its affiliate body further outside the Univision-owned stations and stations owned by Entravision Communications.

In June 2002, Univision acquired Dallas, Texas-based Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., owner of Spanish language radio stations such as WADO in New York City, KLVE in Los Angeles, KGSX in San Antonio, and KESS in Dallas. Following the FCC's long-awaited approval of the acquisition, the group was renamed Univision Radio. The negotiations to merge the two companies followed years of on-again/off-again negotiations in which each company would make a run at the other, as well as occasional takeover attempts of other groups (HBC once attempted to broker a deal to merge with Spanish Broadcasting System, and HBC once tried to acquire Telemundo outright before Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media acquired that network in 1998).

In late 2004, a feud began between Perenchio and Televisa head Emilio Azcárraga Jean,[citation needed] regarding Univision's continual editing of Televisa's programming, and the failure to pay for rights to Televisa-produced sports and specials. The feud intensified to the point where Televisa's most famous stars were banned from appearing on any Univision-produced series and specials. In addition, Televisa filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Univision. It was also rumored that Univision would form a partnership with Televisa's longtime rival TV Azteca, which for a short period of time, bought airtime rights and allowed its video footage to be used on Univision's news programming.

During the 2000s, Univision also lost several key on-air personalities to Telemundo, including longtime weekend news anchor Maria Antonieta Collins, Primer Impacto anchor María Celeste Arrarás and sports announcer Andrés Cantor. By the middle of the decade, Univision overtook English-language networks UPN and The WB – which shut down in September 2006 and were replaced by The CW, which Univision also outranks – as the fifth highest-rated network in total viewership, and sometimes ranks higher in the age demographics of Adults 18–34 and Adults 18–49.

On April 7, 2005, Univision aired a three-hour tribute concert in honor of slain singer Selena (who was murdered in 1995 by a fan who worked as part of her managerial staff), entitled Selena ¡VIVE!. The concert earned a 35.9 Nielsen household rating, becoming the highest-rated program that night on all of network television as well as the most-watched Spanish-language program in American television history.[4]

A Univision float in the 2010 North Hudson Cuban Day Parade in Union City, New Jersey.

On February 9, 2006, Univision Communications announced that it was putting itself up for sale. News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch stated that his company was considering buying Univision, but backed off that position (the company had already owned duopolies in several markets, and could not acquire the existing Univision stations in any event as FCC rules prohibit common ownership of three television stations in a single market except in cases where a market has 20 full-power stations).[5] Other expected bidders included Time Warner, CBS Corporation, Viacom, The Walt Disney Company, Mexico-based Grupo Televisa (which would have had to acquire the network under a partnership, due to FCC laws that restrict ownership of a television station or network by a foreign company to a percentage of no more than 25%), Bill Gates, and several private equity firms. The Tribune Company was rumored to be interested in buying Univision's sister network TeleFutura.[6]

On June 27, 2006, Univision Communications was acquired by a consortium led by Haim Saban's Saban Capital Group (who had previously owned Saban Entertainment), TPG Capital, L.P., Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners for $13.7 billion (or $36.25 per share), plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in debt.[7][8] The sale received federal approval and was formally consummated on March 27, 2007.[9][10]

The buyout left the company with a debt level of twelve times its annual cash flow, which was twice the debt incurred in buyouts occurring over the previous two years.[11] However, Univision's shareholders filed two class action lawsuits against the company and its board members to stop the buyout. One lawsuit claimed that the board members structured the deal to only benefit the company's insiders and not the average stockholders. The other lawsuit was filed on behalf of a shareholder identified as L A Murphy, who claimed that the board put its own personal interests and the interests of the winning bidder ahead of shareholders, and also failed to adequately evaluate the company's worth. In the meantime, more lawsuits were filed: one against Univision's records division for heavy-handed tactics, and the other by a winner of a ¡Despierta América! $30,000 makeover contest who alleged that Univision broke its own contest rules.[12]

On June 25, 2007, with the finale of La Fea Más Bella (a telenovela based on the Colombian series Yo Soy Betty, la Fea), Univision led all U.S. broadcast networks – English and Spanish – with a 3.0 rating out of 9 share; the show the second most watched program that week.[13] Later that year, Univision hosted the first Spanish-language presidential debate in the United States at the University of Miami.[14]

On April 5, 2008, Univision introduced a new Saturday morning cartoon block, Planeta U, featuring Spanish-dubbed versions of American series such as Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks, Inspector Gadget's Field Trip and Beakman's World. The following month, Univision Music Group was sold to Universal Music Group and combined with the latter's Latin music label to become Universal Music Latin Entertainment.

In 2009, the network sponsored a countdown in Times Square, similar to the New Year's Eve event. On the evening of June 12, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, a 60-second countdown appeared on the Jumbotron-size screen marking the shutdown of full-power analog television signals in the Eastern Time Zone, culminating in the message "BIENVENIDOS A LA ERA DIGITAL" ("welcome to the digital era"). This was aired live by the network during Ultima Hora: Una Nueva Era. The ball was lighted in white but was not dropped, remaining at the bottom where the lighted "2009" sign also remained, despite the four-month delay of the digital television transition from February 17. That year, Univision announced it would construct a new studio facility called Univision Studios, to be built in Doral, Florida.[2][15]

2010s[edit]

2D version of Univision's new 2013 logo.

During the first week of September 2010, the network reached a milestone with a first-place ranking in the 18–49 demographic among all networks – English and Spanish – assisted by a primetime football match between Mexico and Ecuador and the finale of a popular telenovela, along with the English networks having traditionally weak programming that time of year.[16]

In October 2010, Televisa agreed to acquire a 5% stake in Univision, which it has the option to expand in the future, and to extend and expand the companies' long-term program licensing agreement. The agreement (which runs through at least 2020, but more likely 2025 or later, compared with the previous deal's 2017 expiration) includes internet and mobile streaming rights and covers key rights to Mexican association football games.[17]

On October 17, 2012, Univision Communications unveiled an updated corporate logo, which was adopted on-air by the Univision network during the broadcast of its New Year's Eve countdown program ¡Feliz 2013! on December 31. The new logo shares the multicolored quadrant design of the previous logo (which had been used since January 1990), but now resembling a three-dimensional heart to represent its new slogan, "El latido del corazón hispano de Estados Unidos" ("The Hispanic Heartbeat of the United States"). The logo's three-dimensional shape represents Univision's recent growth as a "360-degree", multi-platform media company, while its seamless form represents the unity of Hispanic cultures.[18]

In 2012, Univision and ABC News announced that it would partner to form an English-language digital cable and satellite news channel, later given the name Fusion in February 2013, that would be primarily aimed at English-speaking Hispanic and Latino American audiences; Fusion was launched on October 28, 2013.[19][20] On January 28, 2014, Toronto-based Corus Entertainment announced that it would relaunch cable and satellite specialty channel TLN en Español (a Spanish-language spinoff of Telelatino, which already carried select programs broadcast by Univision in the United States through separate distribution agreements) as a Canadian version of Univision through a licensing agreement with Univision Communications;[21] the network was relaunched as Univision Canada on May 5, 2014.

Affiliates[edit]

Univision HD[edit]

Univision HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast feed of Univision that launched on January 1, 2010 at 12:02 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, on its East and West Coast flagship stations in New York City and Los Angeles, WXTV-DT and KMEX-DT. The first Univision program to be televised in high definition was that day's broadcast of the Tournament of Roses Parade.[22] On January 18, 2010, Univision debuted the first telenovela to be broadcast in HD on the network, Hasta que el Dinero nos Separe; the telenovelas Un Gancho Al Corazon and Sortilegio also began airing in high definition on that date. Most other telenovelas airing on the network are now broadcast in HD. Sports programming is also broadcast in HD, including its coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As of July 2013, most Univision programs (including Noticiero Univision, Primer Impacto, ¡Despierta América!, El Gorda y La Flaca, Al Punto, Republica Deportiva, Mira Quien Baila and Sabado Gigante) along with select movies are broadcast by the network in high definition; although most telenovelas, sitcoms and variety series produced prior to 2010 that air in reruns on Univision are not broadcast in the format. DirecTV added the East Coast HD feed on April 28, 2010.[23] Dish Network added the HD feed on May 12, 2010.[24]

Programming[edit]

The majority of Univision's programming consists of telenovelas and series produced by Televisa and broadcast on Canal de las Estrellas in Mexico. Prior to 2009, Univision had also broadcast telenovelas and other programs produced by Venezuelan broadcaster Venevision. The network's signature program, the Saturday night variety show Sabado Gigante, hosted by Don Francisco, has aired on Univision since April 12, 1986. As such, Univision is one of only two American television networks that airs a first-run program during Saturday primetime (CBS is the only other, although ABC, Fox and occasionally NBC do broadcast live sporting events on certain Saturday evenings). Scripted series and variety shows (such as Sabadazo, Bailando por un Sueno, Como dice el Dicho, El Chavo Animado and La Familia P. Luche) largely make up Univision's weekend lineup.

Sitcoms, once a major part of the network's schedule, have had less of a presence on Univision in recent years; since 2008, the network has not obtained rights to newer comedies produced by Televisa, although it continues to air comedies that are no longer in production to which the network continues to maintain U.S. distribution rights (including La Hora Pico, La Casa De La Risa, and Cero en Conducta as well as its spin-off La Escuelita VIP), mainly in overnight and select weekend timeslots. Univision formerly ran various programs each night during the 10:00 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific Time) hour on Monday through Friday nights (including Cristina, Don Francisco Presenta, the newsmagazine Aqui y Ahora and Televisa-produced sitcoms and sketch comedies), mirroring the scheduling of English language broadcast networks; the network began ceding the 10:00 p.m. hour to telenovelas in 2009.

Univision produces a moderate amount of original programming, including Sabado Gigante; the daily morning music video program Tu Desayuno Alegre; the reality competition series Nuestra Belleza Latina and Mira Quien Baila; national news programming including the flagship Noticiero Univision newscast, Primer Impacto, Al Punto, and the morning news program Despierta America; entertainment news shows El Gordo y La Flaca and Sal y pimienta; and sports discussion program República Deportiva. Univision also operates its own television production firm launched in 2009, called Univision Studios, which produces original content for the network.[25]

The network's weekend daytime schedule features a morning children's program block called Planeta U, consisting of Spanish-dubbed versions of American children's programs.[26] Univision also typically airs drama and variety series in the afternoon (telenovelas that appeal to teen or pre-teen audiences previously aired on early Saturday afternoons until 2011). The network also airs some feature films, generally in weekend timeslots; but unlike UniMás and Telemundo, Univision does not air Spanish-dubbed versions of films produced for the English-language market. While Univision largely programs its affiliates' schedules in a sense since they air the large majority of its programming, some Univision stations air locally-produced programs such as public affairs programs and local newscasts (many Univision stations that produce their own newscasts usually air them in early and late evening timeslots, often only on Monday through Fridays, although some of its owned-and-operated stations also air weekday morning newscasts and a few of its O&Os and affiliates carry weekend evening newscasts).

In 2004, Univision published a list of words it edited from programs broadcast by the network (mostly those acquired from Televisa and other distributors) to comply with broadcast decency standards set by the Federal Communications Commission. The words affected had no negative connotations in some Spanish-speaking countries, but had obscene connotations in other countries.[27] In June 2005, Grupo Televisa filed a lawsuit against Univision in a U.S. federal court accusing the network of several actions, including "unauthorized editing" of Televisa programming.[28]

Distribution agreements[edit]

English subtitles[edit]

On January 30, 2012, Univision became the second Spanish language network in the United States to provide closed captions in English (after Telemundo, which has carried its entire weeknight primetime schedule with English subtitles, from September 2003 to October 2008 and again since March 2009); the captions primarily appear during the network's weekday primetime telenovelas from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific) and are transmitted over the CC3 caption channel. Some weekend evening programs (such as Sabado Gigante) also utilize English captions, in addition to the native Spanish-language captions on the CC1 caption stream. The subtitles are intended to attract viewers of Hispanic and other demographics that are not fluent Spanish speakers.[29] Programs that include English-language captions during their original broadcast may also include them in repeat broadcasts airing outside of the network's primetime schedule after the program's original run on the network.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miami Herald[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Univision anuncia la creación de Univision Studios – Novedades". Univision.com. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  3. ^ Source: Strategy Research Corporation's (SRC) 1989 fall sweeps performed from May to November 1989
  4. ^ Univision's Selena ¡Vive! Breaks Audience Records. Univision, November 4, 2005. Retrieved on June 6, 2006.
  5. ^ B&C Mobile
  6. ^ "Univision Confirms It May Be for Sale". The New York Times. February 9, 2006. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Broadcasting Media Partners Completes Acquisition of Univision". Saban. March 29, 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  8. ^ Univision
  9. ^ "Univision sale approved, Abercrombie & Fitch to replace it on the S&P 500," accessed March 29, 2007.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Univision's new ownership takes over," Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2007.
  11. ^ Ng, Serena; Sender, Henny (June 26, 2007). "Behind Buyout Surge, A Debt Market Booms". The Wall Street Journal. 
  12. ^ San Jose Mercury News
  13. ^ "'La Fea' Makes Ratings History for Univision," Variety.
  14. ^ "Democratic presidential hopefuls hold TV debate in Spanish," Agence France-Presse.
  15. ^ Miami Herald[dead link]
  16. ^ Variety http://weblogs.variety.com/on_the_air/2010/09/for-the-first-time-ever-univision-wins-the-week-in-adults-18-49-.html |url= missing title (help). 
  17. ^ Grupo Televisa y Univision ampliarán relación estratégica en los Estados Unidos de América
  18. ^ "Univision Puts More Heart Into Updated Corporate Logo". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "ABC and Univision Announce New Network's Name". ABC News. February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  20. ^ Byers, Dylan (February 11, 2013). "ABC/Univision reveal name of new channel". Politico. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Telelatino Brings Univision, America's Most Watched Spanish-language Network, to Canada". January 28, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  22. ^ Univision starting to broadcast in HD
  23. ^ DIRECTV Launches Univision and TeleFutura in Crystal-Clear HD DirecTV Press Release April 28, 2010
  24. ^ Dish To Launch Galavision HD Multichannel News May 12, 2010
  25. ^ PR Newswire
  26. ^ AllBusiness
  27. ^ Shoer-Roth, Daniel and "'Censorship list' bans controversial words from Univision's on-air lexicon." The Miami Herald at Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. June 28, 2004. Retrieved on March 30, 2010.
  28. ^ Grover, Ronald. "Televisa and Univision: Stay Tuned!" Businessweek. June 27, 2006. Retrieved on March 30, 2010.
  29. ^ "Univision telenovelas with a twist: English subtitles". Los Angeles Times. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 

External links and sources[edit]