TelevisaUnivision: Our big bet is that both core business and new platforms grow

May 6, 2022

Maribel Ramos-Weiner

Luis Silberwasser de TelevisaUnivision US Networks Group

Luis Silberwasser, president of TelevisaUnivision US Networks Group, exclusively for #PRODUprimetime with Ríchard Izarra, assured that the company’s strategy is to grow in all aspects of the business, without neglecting linear channels: “The company continues to invest in products for linear channels. Our big bet -and that is Wade Davis’s strategy- is that we can grow the core business while doing the same with the new platforms.”

For Silberwasser, the great change with the TelevisaUnivision merger is the fact that the two companies “came together to generate and create the largest Spanish-speaking content producer. And those contents are going to be the most important, whether it is for the linear platforms, the channels (networks), which is what I manage here in the US or in Mexico, including everything that we are going to do regarding streaming. The entire focus of the company changed, from being a content packager to being a content producer, and in being in a much closer relationship with the creative team of Televisa, where we are coordinating and, in some way, co-producing content of different genres. For example, Tu Cara Me Suena, which is on the air right now on Univisión and on Televisa and is a co-production between our team here in the US, led by Nacho (Ignacio Meyer), and the team from Mexico, led by Eduardo Clemesha.”

Silberwasser explains that their aim is finding content that works in the two most important markets and, at the same time, generate content for other platforms.

He indicated that regarding production, they are focusing on what is common for both markets. “Part of my experience has been that if the content is good, the story is good and the product is well put together, it has a great chance of working in different markets. What we are doing very closely with the creative production team of Televisa -Jorge Eduardo Murguía, and José Luis Fabila- is trying to focus more than anything else on what is common in the US market and in the Mexican market. And if we can do that, I think we’re going to achieve great things,” he said.

He mentioned examples that have been “spectacular” for both markets: Si Nos Dejan, by Carlos Bardasano and Patricio Wills; La Desalmada del Güero Castro; and Rosy Ocampo’s Vencer franchise. “And the same for entertainment. Tu Cara me Suena was exactly that, deciding that the format has a great chance of working in both markets and teamwork between ours and Televisa’s to find the members of the jury that work well for both markets. This is not easy nor will it work in all products, but I think that if we focus on things more like a diagram and that where you see that you have to look for that circle of what’s common in both markets, I think that there we can really nail it too,” he added.

Silberwasser highlighted that they have a wonderful team where each one is focused on what they have to do. “We believe and we have the designed strategy of ensuring that the core business, the stable business, which is the linear channel business, continues with a very clear programming strategy, based on the open TV filter. While Pierluigi (Gazzolo) and his team create content not for broadcast TV, but for another type of audience, with other types of needs. Hardly ever do we discuss: ‘this is mine or this is yours’, on the contrary, we try to find ways of supporting each other and how linear platforms can aid in the release of ViX, what kind of additional content it can display now,” he explained. He mentioned again Tu Cara me Suena as an example of additional content, behind the scenes, that are in the AVOD ViX. “We’re always looking for that kind of complementary stuff and avoid fighting over content, because, at the end of the day, it’s very different content,” he said.

He feels that with this great new Univision strategy and being now TelevisaUnivision they can do both. “We just finished last year’s business plan for this year, everything we asked for the Univisión core or Televisa core was approved. The company continues to invest in products for open channels”. He added that during the upfront they will announce a battery of initiatives for open channels. “A lot of programming and a lot of investment in open channels, while ViX channels and platforms will also have their share. We are trying to ensure that the company grows in both, not to take from one to build the other.”

Regarding the group’s second free-to-air TV channel, UNIMÁS, Silberwasser recognized that in recent years it has done an extraordinary job, “especially in primetime, reducing the gap between UNIMÁS -being the third- and the second. It is a very interesting channel because it is totally focused on entertainment, where fiction plays a less important role and where entertainment, like Enamorándonos, scheduled from Monday to Friday, really makes the channel look very different from Univisión. We intend to give the audience two options.”

He also mentioned Galavisión “which has a very strong connection with the audience, because it is a channel of nostalgia, of comedy. We see a very loyal audience.” Regarding TUDN, he considered that “it is the most important sports channel, not only in the Hispanic world but in cable in general; where we have Liga MX, which is the most-watched soccer league in the US, even more than the Premier League and any other soccer league in English or Spanish, for Univision channels the Mexican League is the most important.”

Watch interview here