Republican Wake-Up Call: Univision Tops All Networks in July

For the first time in history, Spanish language powerhouse Univision topped all four English language networks in ratings among the coveted 18-49 Prime Time demographic. 

And while some characterize it as anomaly, Horizon Media analyst Brad Adgate predicts, “It wouldn’t surprise me in a few years if Univision isn’t the top 18-49-year-old network during a season.”

It’s a sign of things to come.

And while historic, it shouldn’t be surprising, given the demographic trends in this country, and the unique power Spanish language media (SLM) has with Latino and Hispanic communities.

According to a July 2013 press release issued by Univision, the Univision television stations in Los Angeles and New York are the #1 and #2 most-watched stations in the country in primetime and total day, regardless of language.  These Univision stations had higher viewership than all other English language stations in the country including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC stations.

As Republicans across the country debate how far we are willing to go on immigration reform, balancing principles of the rule of law with the demographic time bomb awaiting us, one thing that is missing from our strategy to reach Latino voters: Spanish language media.

Our absence, both in earned and paid media escapes our overwhelmingly English-speaking party, particularly as we are not paying attention to what is occurring, nor do we understand the power of the medium.  It’s not only that we aren’t there pushing our conservative message, it is that we are completely unaware of the hostile messages defining us from the Left.

For the last three years, my firm has worked with Univision, the dominant SLM company, which captures 80% of the national SLM television audience.  Our mission is to learn more about SLM and it’s reach and educate Republican candidates and committees on the strategies, tactics, power, and reach of SLM for our cause.

The biggest challenge is introducing our candidates, consultants, and leaders to a medium that we are neither familiar nor comfortable with.  And understanding how different it is from what we know.

I’ve been involved in campaigns professionally for more than 20 years.  And I, like many other operatives, strategists, and consultants, made – and continue to make – assumptions about our ability to reach Latino voters because they are in our mail universes or the media market where we are buying television.  The problem is those mediums do not have the impact, credibility, or influence that SLM does.

There is plenty of research that backs up the effectiveness of SLM and as my partners and I comb through polling, analyze focus groups, and study behavior, we recognize the lop-sided flow of information coming from our opponents that defines the political debates and defines Republicans.  They effectively align themselves with Latinos against us and it’s an easy sell because we aren’t even there to fight back.

We are losing the war through unknowing surrender.

The debates over immigration reform, education, health care, and jobs are all critically important in defining who we are versus the Democrats but if we aren’t having those discussions in the market place where those consumers live, we will continue to lose.

Jason Cabel Roe is a partner with Revolvis Consulting, with offices in Washington, DC, San Diego, Sacramento, and Seattle.  His firm represents Univision and works with Republican candidates and committees on Latino targeting strategies.


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