This company's singular vision focuses on Hispanic audiences. Univision Communications is the leading Spanish-language broadcaster in the US with a portfolio of television and radio operations. It runs the top-rated Univision network, carried by more than 1,400 broadcast and cable affiliates, as well as sister networks TeleFutura and Galavisión. The company also owns and operates about 60 local broadcast TV stations. Its Univision Radio division boasts about 70 stations. In addition to traditional broadcasting, the company distributes content online. Founded in 1961 as Spanish International Network, Univision is controlled by a group of private investment firms led by TPG Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
In the larger picture of US television broadcasting, Univision's flagship network regularly tallies enough viewers to rank right behind the four major networks. That fact not only speaks to Univision's success in airing successful programming but also illustrates the size of the Spanish-speaking audience in America. With its growing size and affluence, this demographic is also becoming increasingly valuable to marketers, which in turn has made advertising on Univision an important part of mass media ad campaigns.
Growth of Hispanic audiences has also brought in more competition for Univision's networks. The company's chief rival in this arena has been Telemundo, a Spanish-language network owned by NBCUniversal (NBCU), but the market has seen an uptick in new entrants such as Azteca America (owned by Mexico's TV Azteca), Estrella TV (Liberman Broadcasting), and MegaTV (Spanish Broadcasting System). In addition to those competitors offering a dedicated Spanish-language broadcast, many other TV channels now offer a Spanish-language version.
Univision, like other broadcasters, struggled during 2009 due to the recession and resulting weakness in the advertising market. It eliminated several hundred jobs early that year in an effort to cut costs in response to the decline in revenue. Univision depends on commercial advertising for the lion's share of its sales. It also generates revenue from carriage fees paid by cable TV system operators.
Looking to boost viewership, Univision is constantly focused on developing or acquiring new programming. The company unveiled its own production studio late in 2009 to create its own shows in-house. It also has production and distribution relationships with such companies as Caracol, Endemol, and Venevisión.
Univision is also expanding its online content operations as more and more of its audience turns to the Internet for news and entertainment. The company launched an online video service in 2010 called Novela y Series that offers full episodes of telenovelas. It has also added other new video features to its Univision.com website.
The company got a big boost in 2010 when Mexico's Grupo Televisa announced it would invest $1.2 billion in Univision. The deal, which gives Televisa a 5% stake, signals the end of disagreements between the two Spanish-language media giants that centered on programming distribution rights and royalty payments. With the disputes resolved, Univision and Televisa extended their distribution arrangement until 2020. Televisa is also handing over 50% of its TuTv joint venture with Univision to the US broadcaster.
Univision was taken private in 2007 for about $12.3 billion (plus the assumption of about $1.4 billion in debt). Following the going-private transaction, Joe Uva was installed as Univision's new CEO, replacing longtime chief Jerrold Perenchio. A veteran of the entertainment and media industry, Uva formerly oversaw sales and marketing for several units at Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting subsidiary. He was also CEO at OMD Worldwide, one of the media buying agencies of advertising conglomerate Omnicom Group. After several years at the helm, Uva stepped down in the summer of 2011 and was replaced by former NBC and AOL executive Randy Falco.