If you are familiar with the Spanish language and love to watch television, there are chances that you might have heard of Univision. It is a free-to-air television channel in the United States of America. It screens shows in Spanish. Univision is also the largest television channel that provides Spanish language content in the United States. Let us know ‘Who Owns Univision?’.
Who Owns Univision?
Univision is owned and moderated under its parent company, Univision Communications, the biggest producer of Spanish television content in the United States. The company Univision Communications owns several other Spanish-language broadcast channels apart from Univision.
Raoul Cortez in the year 1940 started the nation’s first Spanish language radio show that was owned and run by Hispanic people. The show was called KCOR 1350 AM and was aired in San Antonio, Texas. Because of the popularity of the show, Cortez started his radio channel that would air all programs in Spanish named KCOR-TV. This channel aimed to keep the Latino audience of the country informed on the national and global issues and also to provide a platform to the Latin-American entertainers and artists.
However, the show was only streamed on devices with Ultra High Frequency or UHF by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These devices were more expensive than the regular devices with Very High Frequency or VHF. These devices were commonly used because they were cheaper and more easily available. This restricted the growth of the radio channel by a large margin. Raoul Cortez had requested for this to be changed, however, this did not end up happening when the company was under his ownership.
This radio station was then later purchased by a group of people which included and was led by Raoul Cortez’s son-in-law, Emilio Nicolas, Sr. The purchase cost was $200,000. They fought for the channel to be aired on devices with Very High Frequency and hosted campaigns at Washington D. C. for the same. Their demands were met, as it was implemented that televisions and radio would have both VHF and UHF systems supporting the devices.
Emilio Nicolas, Sr., and the group of individuals who now had ownership over KCOR-TV expanded the channel into two different companies named Spanish International Communication Corporation (SICC) and Spanish International Network (SIN). From this group, the Mexican business mogul, Emilio Azcàrraga Vidaurreta owned about 20 percent of SICC. He also owned the entirety of the Spanish International Network that screened programs that are made and originated from Mexico itself. They were also sent to the SICC networks.
Growth and Expansion
The station was changed from KCOR-TV to KMEX, with MEX standing for Mexico. The owners also considered naming it KWEX, as a play on the letter M in the name, but they stuck with KMEX itself. In 1962, the channel launched another section in Los Angeles which received massive success from the Latin-American Community of Los Angeles. Luis Patino, the President of the Los Angeles section of Univision credited the name KMEX for the rapid growth of the channel.
In the 1970s a channel launched in the states of Miami, Fresno, Albuquerque, Chicago, and Houston. In the 1980s it expanded into major cities such as New York as well. At first, the company was not welcome in the city. They were restricted from placing their antennas on top of the World Trade Centre. This decision was met with a protest with a hunger strike of two weeks by the then President of the company, Rene Anselmo. The permission for setting up antennas was then granted.
The stations also greatly contributed to the 1980 census with their campaign “Destination 80” by urging the Latin-American community to whole-heartedly participate and co-operate in the census so the representation of the community is accurate in the population count. This was also the first election where the term Hispanic was added to the population count.
The company only kept expanding and growing till the 2000s, they eventually set their mark on television as well. During the 9/11 attacks, the Univision radio channel was one of the only two stations that helped deliver live updates and news to the citizens of New York in both, English and Spanish. This became a defining moment in the company’s progress in the United States.
Univision also launched its very own record label in the year 2008. The aim was to promote Latin-American artists and singers through the label. However, this did not work as planned for Univision. Later, this label was sold to Universal Music, a leading music label in the industry. They promoted Latin American music under their sub-label, which Univision became a part of known as Universal Music Latin Entertainment.
Univision Communications Inc.
Univision Communications Inc. was an extension of the same company which came to play in the 2000s. In 2007, the company was up in the stock market for trade under the name UVN. They also started multiple other channels and launched on various other platforms. They had a radio channel, television channels broadcasting Mexican shows, movies, news channels for Hispanic citizens of the country, etc. It soon became a well-known network amongst the Hispanic community as well as all over the community. It was also well received and consumed by the population as the Hispanic community is the largest minority group in the United States.
Univision Holdings Inc.
This group of companies was created after merging Univision Communications Inc. with the companies Group Televisia. This group was formed because the owners of both these groups were related to the same business circle. Emilio Azcàrraga Vidaurreta owned Group Televisia and it is said that he was the reason behind the merger as he was the common source between both business groups. Univision Holdings is said to be the parent company for both Univision Communications Inc. and Group Televisia. Although, both these groups function in their separate ways.
Univision is a subsidiary channel of Univision Communications In. and by extension Univision Holdings. The channel is the largest Spanish channel in the entirety of the United States. It broadcasts a variety of programs ranging from sports and news programming to series, drama, sitcoms, and other fictional shows. Their target audience is the Latin American community. However, many Hispanic people also consume this content produced by Univision.
The difference between Latin-American and the Hispanic community is that the Latin-American community are people who belong to Latin America, or are descendants of Latin countries of South America. A Hispanic person is someone who is a native Spanish speaker. Hence, Latin-Americans who can speak Spanish are considered to be Hispanic as well.
In the first week of September 2011, the channel was at the #1 spot of the most-watched channel in both English and Spanish Language. It was also most-watched during a football match between Mexico and Ecuador.
The company also launched its very own app which streams its shows, news, sports, etc. They also gained rights from the Televisa group to stream and upload their content on the Univision App. This allowed the audience to watch their shows at any time of the day engaging more viewers to their channel.
Shows for Kids
They also screened shows for kids, some spin-offs, and some with Spanish dubbing over it such as Seasme Amigos, a spin-off on the popular show Seaseme Friends, and shows such as Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, Beakman’s World, The Adventures of Pigley Wink, etc. They also had their very own children’s show block on Saturday morning named Planeta U, translation to Planet U which screened the previously mentioned shows in Spanish.
The news section of the channel is known as Noticias Univision, which translates to Univision News. It has various segments that focus on many Latin-American-related, as well as American-related news. They function as a local news provider too. The company tried to give competition to the English news show Good Morning America by ABC, NBC’s Today, and the CBS show This Morning by launching their morning show named ¡Despierta América!, in which they talked about Latin celebrities and the gossip in the Latin entertainment world. This was a one-of-a-kind show, as there were previously no Spanish entertainment-driven news shows that gained popularity.
The Sports channel is also watched and enjoyed by the citizens. This channel is known as Univision Deportes. It mainly screens football alongside occasional other sports. The viewers are higher in rate when there is a match between or involves either the Mexican or the United States football team. They also previously had the rights to broadcasting the FIFA World Cup in Spanish for both, men’s and women’s series.
Keeping all the statistics aside, this company and all the people that have worked towards building it have not only set up a company that is so brilliant but opened up the gates for entertainment in different languages. The establishment of the company became one of the first fights into representation in the United States media. The establishment of the radio channel, then the multiple television channels, and now the online platform has allowed the Latin-American community to view entertainment that caters to them and celebrate their culture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Univision a Mexico-based company?
No, Univision started in the United States of America itself.
Are Univision and Uniliver the same?
These are two entirely different companies.