TelevisaUnivision Ready to Do Ad Deals On Nielsen Measurement Data Others Won’t Embrace

·3-min read

Spanish-TV giant TelevisaUnivsion wants to speak a different language than its English-speaking rivals when it comes to audience measurement.

Under pressure from some media companies, Nielsen said in April that it was going to hold back a new product that sought to use “big data,” or audience information gleaned from set-top boxes and smart TVs, as a way to provide more granular information about viewers. Nielsen said the new data would not be accredited for mainstream use, but would be available “for additional measurement during this transition for clients seeking to transact on it.”

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TelevisaUnivision is going to try. “We all know that today’s TV measurement is inadequate for our multi-screen world, and as a consequence, U.S Hispanics have been undercounted,” says Donna Speciale, president of U.S. ad sales and marketing at the company. “In fact, our audience is 26% bigger than current measurement. How did we get that information? Nielsen just told us,” she tells Variety, using its traditional panel-based tabulation as well as its “big data” product. “This is huge and and a huge step for equity,” she adds, noting that TelevisaUnivision will ask all agencies and clients to base this year’s upfront ad deals on that measurement.

She notes that the company’s bid to do so is part of negotiation. “We are having major conversations with all the holding companies, and a few are currently saying they are going to lean in,” Speciale says, declining at present to reveal specific clients that might be involved. “We might be doing ‘side by sides,'” she acknowledges, with a “big data” deal placed alongside a more traditional one. “The panel data is going to be there but we have access to, everyone has access to the big data. We can’t wait any longer for this. The time is now and we are not waiting.”

Speciale is betting that the allure of reaching Spanish-speaking consumers, a growing part of the U.S. population and often younger on average, will spur advertisers to test her offer. TelevisaUnivision saw ad revenue rise 2% in the first quarter, while ad sales slumped at many English-language rivals.

The company was formed from the merger of Univision and Televisa in a $4.8 billion merger in late 2022. Wade Davis, who once serves as chief financial officer of the former Viacom, has taken an entrepreneurial stance with the company and is managing it in a more nimble, aggressive manner than some of its counterparts. Speciale says 110 new brands struck deals to advertiser with the company last year, and 150 clients agreed to utilize a new data-backed graph of Spanish-language consumers that allowed advertisers to have more precision in measuring audiences.

The executive believes there’s more work to be done. “Underrepresentation has been plaguing this industry for decades, and last year, we uncovered an astonishing reality: up to 40% of Hispanics are missing from the third-party data that marketers rely upon to guide their business,” says Speciale. “We are going to do our part and fix that problem.”

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