Univision Announces Livestream ‘State Of The Business’ Discussion As Networks Tiptoe Into Upfront Mode

Univision will host a two-part livestream presentation for advertisers on May 12 where ad sales chief Steve Mandala and other executives will discuss the state of the business and how Univision is supporting clients and brands and unveil new primary research with Nielsen on Hispanic consumers.

As of right now it won’t involve the network’s content lineup, which would be the focus of a later presentation as networks are tiptoeing softly back into upfront mode. They say they’re following cues from marketers and talent when to start conversations.

The Univision news follows NBCUniversal’s announcement of its own streaming presentation in the same vein. on May 11, the date of its original live bash. NBCU didn’t focus on content either, calling its presentation a “One Industry Update” – a videoconference featuring executive comments and a “state of the marketplace conversation” with Q&A.

There’s certainly a lot to talk about given the state of viewing, where ratings are surging, and the state of the ad market, which has been devastated by the shutdown of business and consumer activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. One cable ad executive told Deadline that talent is also wary of appearing, even virtually, to tout shows given the crisis gripping the nation. With production shuttered, most networks could also use a bit more time to on  programming lineups. Indutry players have suggested that for this yeear at least the upfront process will move into the fall.

“We will do our marketing presentations when agencies and clients are ready to make decisions,” Mandala told Deadline. “The feedback I am getting from agencies is that a number of clients are ready to go and wat to participate in a futures market. Other clients need longer. We would do it streamed and using some virtual reality to it to make it interesting. It will be shorter presentation that is a business presentation and highlights the content coming in the fall. We are mindful that people’s attention spans are a little bit different now.”

In a letter to its brand partners last month, Univision said:

“Although we will not be staging a physical Upfront event this spring, we are pursuing a video presentation to be streamed once it is reasonable and safe to do so. As in the past, the goal will be to address your strategic business needs, show you the exciting new content we have developed, and continue to engage you in innovative ways.

We will rely on your guidance to inform us when your business is ready to make plans for the coming year and we will make decisions together on when we present our strategy and content.”

Mandala said Univision’s programming strategy allows it to have a complete grid into January of 2021, with about 90% of content produced in-house or already produced. He also noted that the network had reduced its network commercial load by 15%.

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