Hispanic TV Giants

Two for Tuesday: Two Network Giants Race for the Hispanic Audience

Like butter on bread, the Hispanic culture is spreading around the country as rapidly as their growing population. In cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, where more than 14 million people with Latin American origin/heritage call home, America’s changing cultural landscape is easily noticeable. While the panorama changes, consistency rules for the two top Spanish-language television networks (that together hold around 90% of the market): Telemundo and Univision. This Two for Tuesday, we’re highlighting these fiercely competitive Spanish-language networks, which are even competing with the major English-language networks.


Emilio Nicolas and Emilio Azcarraga Vidaurreta (who also founded one of the first television stations in Mexico) founded Univision during the ‘60s in San Antonio, Texas. Over forty years and a series of name and ownership changes, Univision worked on building a larger and stronger network. In 2000 its Los Angeles outlet became the most watched channel in the United States in any language. Today its influence is vital; the network hosted a presidential debate for the 2012 elections addressing key Hispanic concerns.

During the summer of 2013, Univision received first place in ratings among the key audience of 18-49, even ranking above their English speaking counterparts.


Created in Puerto Rico by newspaper and radio station mogul Angel Ramos as a TV news outlet, Telemundo expanded to the continental U.S. during the late ‘80s by acquiring stations in different states, including Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. In 2002 the media conglomerate NBCUniversal paid nearly $2 billion for the network.

The Race for the Hispanic Audience

While Univision is the favorite network among Hispanics (60 percent), Telemundo is getting serious and is intending overtake the first spot in the audience’s preference. In 2011 Telemundo paid $600 million for the exclusive Spanish-language broadcast rights of the 2018 and 2022 soccer World Cup, which have aired in the U.S. on Univision since 1978.

Telemundo has also integrated several digital features. Knowing that Hispanic Millennials have a high preference for social media and portability, they have made their material available through different vehicles to better reach these audiences. Univision is trying to improve their digital content with different shows in order to get a larger share than Telemundo.

The competition is especially evident in their regular programming and primetime shows. The telenovelas in both networks play an important role since they are inexpensive to produce (around $3 million for 120 episodes) and the ROI is pretty high. The reality shows, such as La Voz kids by Telemundo and Univision’s Mira quien baila have been largely popular as well.

With more networks trying to join the market, Univision and Telemundo have so far proved they know the Hispanic market like no one else; that’s why their ad revenues surpass $3.5 billion. The competition among them is going to be pretty interesting in the near future, even more now that the English-language networks want a piece of that multicultural cake, too.

While the giants duke it out, tell us which Spanish-language network you prefer and why in the comments!

Cover Photo Source: LittleStocker

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Fernando is a creative Junior Executive at SJG. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and is savvy with Photoshop and Illustrator. [/author_info] [/author]