People to Meet: Univision’s Luis Fernández

Luis Fernández

President of entertainment, Univision

As president of entertainment at Univision and its dedicated content division Univision Studios, former RTVE executive president Luis Fernández plays a key role in shaping the Spanish-language content seen in the US. He speaks to TBI about his plans for the network.

How has your experience at RTVE in Spain shaped what you do at Univision – how would you compare the Spanish TV market with its US Hispanic equivalent?
RTVE is a leader in the media landscape in Spain known for creating quality programming. In this regard, Univision is comparable. Over the last 50 years, Univision has created an unparalleled connection with our audiences, delivering relevant and quality programming. It is an honor to have worked in two companies that so clearly engage and connect with their community.

What has the defining trend been in terms of US Hispanic content been this year?
With 78% of today’s Latinos choosing to speak Spanish at home, there is an increasing demand for Spanish-language content. Univision’s success with Spanish-language content abounds: In 2011, as one of the top five networks in the U.S. regardless of language, Univision had more number one nights than ABC, CBS, NBC or the CW with adults 18-34.
The recent finale of the novela La Fuerza del Destino (The Power of Destiny) delivered an average audience of 6.2 million total viewers and also made Univision the number one broadcast network among adults 18-34 and Adults 18-49 for the night.

What particular shows stood out for you last year?
Reality formats like Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin Beauty), ¡Mira Quién Baila! (Look Who’s Dancing!) and Pequeños Gigantes (Little Giants), novelas like El Triunfo del Amor (Triumph of Love) and Eva Luna, events like the Latin Grammy Awards and the Premio Lo Nuestro Music Awards, plus Univision News-produced documentaries La Amenaza Iraní (The Iranian Threat) and Infiltrados (Infiltrated) have delivered strong ratings.

Univision is investing more in original content, what type of programming can we expect moving forward?
The creation of Univision Studios in 2009 allowed us to build on the more than 4,000 hours of original content Univision was producing. Through our in-house studio we are able to build on the exclusive rights to programming from leading global partners, and produce and co-produce novelas, plus genres like reality shows, dramatic series, entertainment specials and other programming formats not only for our television networks, but for our interactive properties as well.
Our Univision production capabilities include an extensive library of hits such as the reality beauty competition Nuestra Belleza Latina, which generated an average of 3.5 million total viewers throughout its fifth season; and the reality dance competition ¡Mira Quién Baila!, which recently ended its second season attracting an average audience of nearly five million total viewers throughout its full run.
Eva Luna our last Univision Studios novela, coproduced with Venevision, broke records as the highest-rated domestically produced novela in history. We are currently in production for our next primetime novela, El Talisman (The Talisman).

What part does coproduction play in your plans?
Our two-pronged programming strategy gives Univision the best of both worlds. Our approach allows us to tap into the best content from our exclusive partnerships with the leading Spanish-language providers in the world, such as Televisa, the worldwide leader in novelas, and affords us the capability to leverage our in-house production capabilities where Univision Studios produces and coproduces content in the US for our audiences.
Our Univision Studios production capabilities are helping us build an extensive library of hits such as ¡Mira Quién Baila!, which was developed in partnership with Endemol.

What are the main goals for Univision Studios in 2012?
Increasingly, TV viewing is no longer a linear experience. As an industry, we are challenged to deliver the programming audiences seek in a multiplatform environment. Our goal in 2012 is to continue to deliver the content Hispanic America loves, across all screens.
Univision is executing on a strategy that builds on the strength of our networks and speaks to our commitment to our partners and audiences. We will continue to invest to sustain and grow our programming leadership across our networks and platforms, including online and mobile, by expanding our in-house production around novelas, dramatic series and reality shows.