Univision Gears Up for New Deals

Rick Alessandri, executive vice president, enterprise development, Univision

Univision Enterprise Development, the brand licensing division of the popular Hispanic networks (Univision, UniMás and Galavisión) that have a 73 percent share among the adult 18-49 Spanish-language TV audience in primetime, is expanding its portfolio of products for traditional brands and adding celebrity personalities to its roster.

According to Rick Alessandri, executive vice president, enterprise development, Univision, it has taken longer to establish the division, which he spearheaded in 2011, but things are coming together now in a big way.

"We have had to educate buyers, retailer partners and potential licensees because the traditional U.S. landscape doesn't have the intimate knowledge of the Hispanic marketplace," he explains. "Univision is about finding brands that resonate with the U.S. Latino customer."

"It's been very hard for the general market to understand how to approach the Hispanic market and who to partner with," adds Maca Rotter, executive director, Televisa Consumer Products. "But now numbers are showing how strong this audience is. You need to reach this audience through their hearts, emotion and the culture they left behind."

Televisa named Univision as its exclusive licensing agent in the U.S. about 18 months ago to represent El Chavo, Chapulín Colorado, Hablando Sola, Chef Oropeza, as well as all Televisa novelas, reality series, live action and game shows.

In February, Univision named Jakks Pacific as exclusive North American master toy licensee for the popular "El Chavo" animated series. The product line, which is set to launch this fall, will include action figures, plush, dolls, role play products, dress up, seasonal toys, table top games and novelty items.

Alessandri is also bullish about the potential for the lifestyle brand Delicioso. A tabletop and kitchenware collection will launch this year in partnership with Gibson. It will include prep products (lime squeezer, mortar and pestle, cutlery, wooden utensils and kitchen gadgets), cooking products (comales griddles, calderos pots, fry pans, tamale steamers, pressure cookers and a tortilla press), serving products (salsa bowl, appetizer sets and tortilla warmers), diningware (melamine and ceramic dinnerware) and drinkware (agua fresca jug, mojito, margarita and other specialty beverage pitchers and glassware). Coffee and tea accessories are also being developed.

According to Alessandri, Univision is gearing up for other consumer products programs as well from celebrity to sports merchandising. They include:

  • Gabriela Borges–a 13-year-old singer, actress and dancer with a love of fashion, music and novelas, signed a multi-year agreement with Univision to develop her brand.
  • Club América–Univision is representing the Liga MX soccer team Club América, one of the most successful teams having won 14 championships, across multiple product categories.
  • Celia Cruz–Univision signed an exclusive global agreement with Eventus, the representative of the Celia Cruz Estate, to license the name and image of the late Cuban "Queen of Salsa." Merchandising offerings will include apparel and accessories. The legendary singer passed away in 2003 and produced 23 gold albums and holds three Grammy awards and four Latin Grammy awards.
  • Retail–Univision partnered with The Paradies Shops to develop and operate Univision-branded airport newsstands and cafes targeted to Hispanic travellers.

What started as Alessandri's vision to establish a consumer products portfolio when he joined Univision is now emerging as a major player for the Hispanic community in the U.S. with more brands in the pipeline.

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