Univision Launches Internal Ad Agency

New Shop to Handle Some $500 Million in Inventory
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Taking many in the Hispanic media community by surprise, Univision Communications this week said it will form its own internal advertising agency.

The Univision Agency will oversee a media inventory of more than $500 million across the Spanish-language media giant’s broadcast, cable and radio properties, it  said in a statement. Some 65 staffers in Miami, New York and Los Angeles will handle research, creative services and media planning.

“We really wanted to keep in line with the growth we’ve experienced in the past 18 to 24 months,” Jessica Rodriguez, executive vice president of program scheduling & promotions told Hispanic TV Update.

Instead of having a promotions division for each Univision property, all promotional efforts will be centralized under the Univision Agency banner, Rodriguez said.

In addition to cross-channel promotions, Univision said the Univision Agency will be responsible for “research and creative services for clients and internal divisions.” That particular phrasing was troubling to some at the Hispanic ad community, which initially perceived the move as a potential threat to established advertising and media agencies.

“We received a lot of email [from] concerned members,” said Roberto Orcí, president of AHAA: the Voice of Hispanic Marketing, which issued a statement to assuage its constituents last Tuesday night (Jan. 15). “I can understand why they would want to call it the Univision Agency … but I would have used other name, because if you don’t know the background, you’d think they’d be competing with ad agencies,” Orcí said.

“AHAA will continue to work with Univision to promote the use of AHAA member agencies to ensure that advertisers have access to and understand the full depth and breadth that the Hispanic market offers,” the trade group said in a statement.

Rodriguez also said the Univision Agency had no competitive ambitions.

“To be clear, we are not competing with advertising agencies at all,” she said. “This is media planning related to our assets. We will continue to work with [external] ad agencies the way we’ve done in the past.”

Leading the Univision Agency will be Joni Fernandez, newly promoted to senior vice president.

Silvia Garcia, a former Discovery Networks executive, will handle media planning across Univision’s portfolio of assets.

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