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Univision Tops ALL Networks in Ratings Race

Written by Susan on . Posted in Hispanic, Research

Univision

Univision

As the summer winds down and students get back to school, the changing of the seasons marks the close of what is usually a slow TV season. The major networks debut their new shows at the end of the month, and so programming is mostly reruns.  It is in this media environment that, during the week of September 1st-8th, Univision lead ALL networks in the Nielsen ratings.

What to make of this historic achievement by Univision? For one thing, the numbers don’t lie (as accurate as Nielsen numbers can be; our family was a Nielsen family for many years, so what we watched at any given moment represented what thousands of families in our region were watching).  Consumers may tell market researchers one thing, but if the numbers show that people are watching Spanish-language telenovelas and Spanish-language news, it’s hard to dispute the hard data.  Whether they are bilingual or Spanish-dominant, millions of young people in that 18-34 demo are watching Spanish-language TV programming.

Are eyeballs fixed to the screen when Univision is on because people like the programming…or because it is the only show in town? Univision has a near monopoly on Spanish-language programming in the U.S. (sorry, Telemundo), so for viewers who want to hear their language and see the actors and athletes that they know and love, it’s Univision.  Yet many bilingual, acculturated Latinos quietly bemoan the fact that Univision programming is light years behind its American counterparts.  Variety programming featuring dancing bears and singing clowns, soap operas that appeal to an older demographic, and a portrayal of women that is very outdated are typical of the Univision lineup.

So the news from Nielsen Media is positive, in that it shows the impact of the Latino consumer.  But it also shows that there are a lot of Spanish-speaking viewers in the U.S. who may just be clamoring for programming that is better and more modern. The viewers are there- it’s time to give them what they want.

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Susan

A Mexican-American from San Rafael, California, Susan Ayoob holds a B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Translation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She has lived in Spain, France and Mexico, and thus has an appreciation for Manchego, Camembert, and Cotija.