Six of the nation’s most prominent advertisers have signed on as early supporters of Univision’s new PrendeTV, a vote of confidence in the streaming service as the Spanish-language broadcaster moves forward in early days under new management.
Clorox, Coca-Cola, Dunkin, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota and Walmart will serve as charter advertisers of the new service, Donna Speciale, the executive recently named president of advertising sales and marketing at Univision, tells Variety in an interview. The company is now being led by Wade Davis, a former Viacom financial executive who helped arrange a purchase of a majority stake in the company by Searchlight Capital Partners, LP and ForgeLight LLC.
Just as many other traditional media companies are placing new emphasis on streaming video, so too is Univision. The company expects to launch Prende with over 30 channels and 10,000 hours of on-demand video programming in Spanish. “Prende” is the Spanish word for “switch on” or “turn on.”
The six advertisers will form part of what Univision calls the PrendeTV Premier Club, and will get a first look at new advertising innovations and formats as well as insights and research, Speciale says. PrendeTV is likely to feature fewer than eight minutes of advertising per hour.
Speciale has been at Univision for just a few weeks. The Madison Avenue veteran previously served as president of ad sales for AT&T’s WarnerMedia, and has over the years cultivated a reputation for pushing new ways of thinking to match the new ways consumers gain access to their video favorites. She is a former top executive at Publicis Groupe’s media-buying operations, where she advised clients including Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, among others.
The executive says she’s eager to explore ways to sell the kinds of advertising concepts marketers crave. While at WarnerMedia, Speciale helped develop and launch Open AP, a consortium of media companies that agreed to help advertisers align their commercials with specific audience segments, which could be defined by common attributes. Univision joined the group in May of 2018, and Speciale indicated she’s eager to take part in its work once more. She also expressed an interest to offer clients so-called “addressable” advertising formats, or commercials that can be aimed at specific audiences thanks to interactive technology.
Univision launches its streaming service as Madison Avenue is eager to find ways to place commercials in just those sorts of environments. NBCUniversal launched its Peacock streaming service last year with a group of charter sponsors that included Eli Lilly and Company, State Farm, Target and Unilever. Media buyers have been curious to learn what sorts of arrangements they will be able to make to place commercials on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, which has promised an ad-supported version but has yet to unveil the model publicly.
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