Univision’s Cool, Cool Summer: How Network Has Obliterated Ratings Trends

Spanish-language leader is up double digits on a percentage basis while everyone else is way down in the COVID dumps

Unvision summer ratings
"Vencer El Miedo" (Univision)

tony maglio ratings report banner Univision is having one hell of a hot summer. While self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic initially boosted Nielsen ratings due to the sudden availability of potential TV viewers, the positive trend quickly reversed due to the production shutdown and subsequent lack of new programming — and in a big way. Or at least it did for broadcast networks CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, The CW and Spanish-language channel Telemundo. While everyone else is frying in the August heat, Univision, the leader in the Spanish-language TV space, is remarkably up double digits in viewership this summer. Pretty cool. In the key demo, which counts viewers aged 18 to 49, Univision is up 10% versus the comparable weeks last year. You can double that to +20% when counting viewers of any age. Meanwhile, every other broadcast network is down huge in the demo vs. the previous summer. The CW is the only network that isn’t down at least 32% this season. Here is that summer-to-summer movement for each broadcast channel: Univision: +10% The CW: -23% CBS: -32% NBC: -35% Fox: -36% Telemundo: -38% ABC: -50% In total viewers, the declines are a little less dramatic for the other broadcast nets. A little. See below: Univision: +20% The CW: -7% CBS: -9% NBC: -20% Telemundo: -27% ABC: -30% Fox: -35% The numbers in this story include one week of delayed viewing for May 25, 2020-July 19, 2020. We do not yet have the (mostly) DVR statistics for July 20-Aug. 2, so those numbers come from Nielsen’s Live + Same Day ratings bucket. All primetime programming has been counted with no evenings (like Saturdays, which are generally low-rated nights) omitted. In terms of who is actually winning the summer, CBS has the lead in overall viewer averages. NBC, which is not far behind CBS in terms of total viewers, is No. 1 in the key demo. ABC is third in terms of viewers of any age and second in the demo. Among adults 18-49, Univision ranks third, with averages out-ranking both CBS (fourth) and Fox (fifth). In total viewers Univision is fifth, but could make a run at Fox’s fourth-place ranking. The CW and Telemundo are really non-factors. So how has Univision pulled it off? Well, the network had a whole bunch of telenovelas in the can — a big help when a global pandemic shuts down pretty much the entirety of TV production. The network’s big hits in the primetime soap opera space were “Amor Eterno” and “Te Doy La Vida,” which both wrapped up long runs this summer. The network’s “Como Tú No Hay” is still airing new episodes.

“The growth we are seeing this summer is a continuation of the record-breaking success we have delivered this entire broadcast season,” Jessica Rodriguez, the president of entertainment and Univision’s chief marketing officer, told TheWrap. “Our primetime lineup has been powered by feel-good romantic comedies, epic dramas and family-friendly realities.”

She also credited a “secure content pipeline” from its own Univision Studios as well as partners like Televisa and strategic acquisitions that should assure new programming “through the remainder of this year and into next.” The network just debuted its version of “The Masked Singer” (“¿Quién es la Máscara?”), which drew big numbers for its Sunday block of family programs, and plans a Youth Awards show (“Premios Juventud”) this Thursday as a rare live event mid-pandemic. All that preparation has paid off in a big way. Univision had 90% of its content slate through 2020 in the can before the coronavirus shutdown, one network insider told TheWrap. On top of that, Univision partner Televisa returned to production in May, and international soccer — including matches in Mexico — became one of the first sports to return to play.
Univision was also able to continue to produce programming out of Miami, like “Nuestra Belleza Latina El Reencuentro” and this Thursday’s “Premius Juventud.”
Muy bien.


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