LOWDOWN ON THE UPFRONT: Univision Fuses Research Tools


New York -- During last year’s upfront presentation, Univision Communications put its viewers at the forefront of its star-studded glitzy event in New York City. But in these recessionary times, a very different player is expected to take center stage when the network presents its 2008-2009 programming lineup May 14: research.

The nation’s largest Spanish-language network is expected to come to its presentation armed with a series of powerful research tools, studies and data that promise to give advertisers a more accurate, cost-effective way to plan and execute their media buys for the U.S. Hispanic market.

As a sneak peek, Univision today unveiled the Fusion Project, a collaboration with Nielsen Media Research and Nielsen Homescan that melds the former’s TV viewing data with the latter’s purchasing information. Together, it should give marketers a better bang for their bucks.

“With fusion metrics we have a powerful measurement tool to help marketers more accurately target their efforts to maximize their investment and deliver growth. And, we are able to prove the ROI of that investment,” said Univision president of sales and marketing David Lawenda.

Put simply, the fusion metrics enable advertisers to go beyond the traditional targets of age and sex. In early testing, Nielsen worked with Univision to create a fused database in Los Angeles that integrated general-market and Hispanic product sales data from the Nielsen Homescan panel with TV viewing data from the Local People Meter panel.

During a morning presentation at the network’s Manhattan offices, executive vice president of corporate research Ceril Shagrin said Univision has been using the fused data for only the past couple of months, but it plans to make it widely available to advertisers at this year’s upfront presentation. The fusion, explained Shagrin, was executed using common household characteristics collected from both panels, including household size; occupation (s); income level; the language spoken in the home, whether the participant owns or rents the resident; has cable or uses another provider.

Citing evaluations conducted on a diet cola, regular cola and a beer, Nielsen says it was able to uncover important nuances that are critical to understanding -- and better address --  the target market.

“By using this information, marketers can more effectively plan their media buys […] and we can then go and test their ROI,” said Shagrin, a former Nielsen Media Research executive.

For now, the fused data taps Los Angeles as a prototype market, where over 51% of the DMA’s population is of Hispanic origin. But, according to Shagrin, Nielsen expects to roll out a national panel no later than January 2009.

Univision also revealed new data from a 2007 media-habits study it commissioned from Simmons, showing the growing use of Spanish-language media, especially among young, bilingual, bicultural Latinos.