- Last week Univision brought on digital veteran Lisa Valentino from Conde Nast to help ramp up ad sales.
- The former ESPN and Yahoo executive wants to help push more big advertisers to shift resources and marketing dollars toward targeting Hispanic consumers.
- Valentino is also urging Facebook and Google to support quality journalism, and wants the industry to tackle its various measurement challenges.
Over the past few years, the Spanish language broadcasting giant Univision has moved aggressively to expand both its digital, and its non-Spanish media footprint.
In 2016 alone the company acquired the humor brand The Onion and the remaining assets from Gawker Media (minus the now defunct Gawker.com), while also taking full control of Fusion, the millennial-aimed media property the company launched with Disney in 2013.
At the same time, like every other traditional media powerhouse, Univision has been trying to deliver its content to various digital platforms while making money and protecting its still lucrative TV business along the way.
To help lead that push forward, last summer, Univision installed Tonia O’Connor as its first chief revenue officer. And last Friday, the company introduced digital ad veteran Lisa Valentino as its new executive vice president Revenue Innovation.
Valentino was most recently chief revenue officer for industry and agency at Condé Nast. Prior to that role Valentino logged stints at both ESPN and Yahoo. Business Insider caught up with the sales executive to talk about her new gig and the state of the ad business.
Mike Shields: What don’t people realize about the media habits of the US Hispanic audience? Are advertisers spending enough to reach this demographic given its size and growth?
Lisa Valentino: I think it’s fair to say that many advertisers and buyers aren’t fully aware of the enormous buying power this segment represents, how and where it’s growing, and how Hispanics tend to be more loyal and attentive to brands that respectfully and effectively communicate with them as consumers. Even in 2018, there’s still a huge learning curve in our industry. In my last role, I listened to many of our Fortune 100 partners speak to the need to reach a more culturally diverse consumer in an authentic way. That presents a tremendous opportunity for us.
Shields: What do you think are some of the most glaring areas of need in the ad industry right now?
Valentino: Some of the biggest challenges we face include updating our measurement system – i.e. Nielsen – to more accurately reflect consumer behavior especially as it relates to video. As you know, video viewing is up, it’s just occurring differently across multiple platforms especially with younger consumers.
Shields: What about taking on Google and Facebook for digital ad budgets? It seems harder than ever. Are they a friend to media companies?
Valentino: I believe we will see a commitment towards quality journalism and premium storytelling. The ecosystem and business models have to support the continued creation of a high quality product and the duopoly hasn’t gotten there yet. I also believe we will see continued consolidation and new forms of partnership emerge which will create less reliance on one or two platforms. It’s a great time to be attached to a brand that stands for something and we want to help lead the change.
Shields: We haven’t heard as much noise regarding the big Hispanic broadcasters in terms of doing things like Snapchat Discover or shows on Facebook Watch or even getting distribution on new digital cable alternative (e.g. ‘skinny bundles.’) Will we see a more aggressive push on these fronts?
Valentino: Well, that’s the unfortunate thing that some in our industry are unaware. Univision has already been among the first of any traditional media to jump onto Sling TV, develop co-productions with Netflix, introduce direct to-consumer subscription linear and library services, stream live sports on Facebook and more. The company’s leadership in experimentation and pressing the digital envelope is another reason I felt this was a great fit for me. And, we’re just getting started in terms of innovative partnerships.
Shields: You’re coming back to a big TV-centric company that’s trying to get more digital after several years at Conde Nast. What do you think about that kind of shift?
Valentino: These are rapid days of transformation for all of media and I’ve always been drawn to premium brands that have strong credibility with consumers. I began to notice that Univision has not been sitting idly by as they navigate the complex sea change in consumer consumption. Whether it’s been their embrace of digital-first brands like Gizmodo and The Onion or their partnerships with Netflix and Facebook, they clearly are looking at new ways to leverage their strong brand. Quite simply the invitation to help them innovate the business model in this dynamic space was just too exciting to pass up.