Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media and Enterprise Development, took five with Digital Media Wire to discuss how Hispanic audiences consume and interact with digital media, and what his strategy is for maximizing the opportunities.
Conroy is responsible for Univision’s interactive business, which includes: Univision.com, the No. 1 most-visited Spanish-language website among U.S. online Hispanics; Univision Móvil, mobile products and services; and Univision Partner Group, a specialized advertising and publisher network. He also leads the Univision Enterprise Development organization, a team focused on developing new growth opportunities and building partnerships in the technology space.
Q 1: What is your overall strategy for digital, and what differences (if any) do you see in how primarily Hispanic consumers use mobile and the Internet for entertainment?
Conroy: The framework that we established for digital was to create an ecosystem and look at everything holistically, not to approach different media separately. It all has to function through the lens of lifestyle. It’s the same consumer, so the experiences need to be in sync with each other while taking advantage of each form’s strengths.
The gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic in regard to broadband penetration at the desktop level is now less than 10 percent and closing rapidly. But when you look at mobile, not only is there no lag, but the reality is that Hispanic users way overindex when it comes to the use of the mobile platform. If you go through the checklist of mobile activities, things like sending email, checking status, multimedia consumption, listening to streaming audio, you find that Hispanics overindex by a lot. A lot – like a factor of 1 to 20 in almost all of the different behaviors.
We know that the pendulum is swinging to mobile from an audience numbers perspective and an engagement perspective. It will take a little while for monetization to catch up, but it’s clear the audience is going there. Already 65 percent of Hispanics use their handset as their primary way to access the Internet, and penetration is not an issue, so you can look at the engagement and behaviors as an indicator of where things are going.
Q 2: Univision recently broadcast its annual Premio Lo Nuestro music awards show, accompanied by enhanced interactive elements. How well did your initiatives perform, and what did you learn from that event that will inform future digital initiatives?
Conroy: As you know, Premio Lo Nuestro is television’s longest-running Latin music awards show, and it always gets a great audience – this year the broadcast delivered an average audience of 5.6 million, beating ABC, NBC and the CW.
We’ve been doing some pretty interesting things across platforms for a few years, so our plan for the event went across the entire company and embraced the connection between the digital, mobile, television and social. A lot of things we expected to do well did even better than we thought they would, especially things like the expanded red carpet coverage, real-time video and photos, the trivia area we created, questions for nominees, and voting around the categories. We also shared video of the live performances in real time and we’re making them available for a month along with other coverage at PremioLoNuestro.com.
According to Trendrr.tv, Univision was the No. 1 broadcast network and Premio Lo Nuestro was the No. 1 show for social media activity that evening, and it outranked other awards shows including the latest editions of BET Honors, People’s Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Q 3: Do you think Hispanic entertainment gets its fair share of media coverage and advertising dollars?
Conroy: I joined Univision in 2009 and I’ve seen first-hand how the marketplace is changing. We’ve seen significant growth in the amount of attention that is paid to our market and our company by marketers and advertisers – but more with the more significant marketers. We’ve also seen lots of progress in regard to integration across platforms and other interesting things.
Having said that, there’s still a ways to go. I’m a little surprised that more major brands and major marketers have not worked harder to embrace this opportunity, particularly in tough market cycles and when they’re looking to grow share. Hispanic audiences represent a really strong growth opportunity that more should embrace.
Q 4: Univision has been putting a lot of resources into expanding its video offerings. What are your initiatives in that area?
Conroy: We put a strong focus on video during the 2010 World Cup, when we delivered over 10 million hours of video without a single technical issue over the course of the event. Video continues to be fast-growing in the general marketplace, and it’s growing even faster in our audience.
But there has not been a significant amount of high-quality content for our audience in the digital space. We saw it as our responsibility to take a leadership role, so we are actively making our content available on VOD and elsewhere and we are productizing our video.
UVideos is our new dedicated video product that enables our audience to enjoy a wide range of news, entertainment, sports, comedy and other content in short form, long form, ad-supported, and later this year, authenticated video. It’s a standalone destination product, available online, on mobile as a site destination and as an application for the smartphone platforms, an app distributed via third parties through different platforms, connected TV, and available to our audience who are subscribers to various different video products. DishTV our first partner and our distribution team is in active discussions with all of the major distributors.
It’s an awesome opportunity in a fast-growing market that has embraced all forms of digital. It’s exciting to be focused on an audience that’s as engaged as it is. We have a lot of market share, and we have content and products that matter. It’s all about serving the audience and delivering them the control they want.
Q 5: What are your current frustrations? In terms of perceptions you’d like to change, stumbling blocks to initiatives you’d like to launch, things like that.
Conroy: Our review of all the data for Premio Lo Nuestro further confirmed our belief that engagement is more and more the leading metric for how you measure success in media. We have to evolve to a place where there’s a composite view, where we’re not just looking at one platform or one platform versus another.
This absolutely has to happen. As an industry we must come together to develop the next measurement for total reach and total engagement. It’s challenging, there are obstacles, and a lot of the traditional research sources under-represent our audience, so there’s work to be done. The research needs to properly reflect what’s going on in the marketplace so that we can develop this composite view. It’s not if, it’s when – these things have to happen.
More immediately, the one area that’s both frustration and opportunity is being able to demonstrate first-hand the power of our audience to more marketers and more significant brands. We know the importance of the market, we know how it’s growing, and Univision is in the position of having a unique connection with its audience. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been in media for quite a while. It’s connected and it’s relevant. It’s unduplicated. We can partner in a unique way that helps marketers grow their business. I want more opportunities to demonstrate that. We’re well organized to put the power of our connection to work across all platforms – and there’s no downside to trying it.
Under Kevin Conroy’s leadership, Univision Interactive Media has developed partnerships with leading technology companies, content producers and mobile developers to expand and enhance user experiences on Univision’s digital platforms. Univision Interactive Media is now the largest Spanish-language publisher, featuring best-in-class content, tools, services and comprehensive resources across a wide range of consumer verticals. In addition, he expanded the company’s mobile offerings, which include mobile websites, mobile applications, in-show interactive elements, mobile video channels, alerts and text-messaging platforms and an extensive catalog of downloadable content.
Prior to Univision, Conroy was at AOL, most recently as executive vice president of Global Products and Marketing, where he oversaw development of AOL’s desktop, Mobile and IPTV products for the U.S. and 30 countries around the globe. He also oversaw the company’s marketing strategies, new distribution models and partnerships. He joined AOL having been chief marketing officer and president of New Technology at BMG Entertainment, a division of Bertelsmann AG.
Links referred to in this article:
Univision’s most popular apps include:
- Noticias Univision App delivers real-time coverage of the breaking news that matters to U.S. Hispanics, and allows users to access news from their city or their home country.
- Univision Delicioso App provides recipes for the best in Latin cuisine and beyond, in addition to helpful cooking videos, tools and tips from Univision chefs and fellow users.
- Univision Radio App, available in Spanish and English for free, streams 45 Univision Radio stations, featuring popular radio shows from Univision radio personalities. Users can get real-time information of what’s on air, share a song via Facebook or Twitter, and purchase songs on iTunes.
- Univision App includes video clips, photos and articles of the latest national and local news, celebrity gossip, popular Univision shows, and updates from Hispanic America’s favorite sports such as soccer and boxing.
- Univision Marcador App provides die-hard sports fans free, real-time scores and stats of games and matches from top soccer leagues and other sports. The English-language Univision Scoreboard App is also available.
- Univision Deportes App keeps users updated with the latest from their favorite soccer leagues and tournaments around the world throughout the year.
- The Univision Video App gives mobile users access to both short and long-form content from some of Univision’s top-rated shows across news, entertainment, soccer, TV shows, sports, horoscopes and special events.