December 10, 2010

      By Jose Cancela

Boy that did not take long. It was just a few short weeks ago that Televisa and Univision made up, and now we are starting to see that Emilio not only picked up his Univision ownership at pennies on the dollar, but he also got himself a few extra perks. The first being the keys to the Univision news division, not a bad perk by any standards.

Consider this; Univision News is the most watched news program by Hispanics here in the states. It is the home to such marquee names as Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, not to mention that it is the Univision news division that produces all the political and public affair specials for the network.

Out is Univision television veteran of 25 plus years Alina Falcon and in is Emilio's longtime confidant; Isaac Lee. Isaac is a publisher extraordinaire who understands the U.S. Hispanic market and who in his latest role was Editor in Chief of Poder magazine published by Editorial Televisa. In that role he showed that we can elevate the conversation beyond the traditional issues.

It will be refreshing to watch his vision jump from the pages of a magazine to become real life stories and very much needed thought starters for our marketplace.

This move while executed with lightning speed should not come as a surprise, and will be one of many moves that we will see in the coming months and years as Azcarraga consolidates his power over Univision.

If you have any doubts about Azcarraga Jean's ability to consolidate his power over time at Univision, just ask his cousin “El Guerro” Burillo Azcarraga. He was once the heir apparent to the Televisa organization, he clearly thought that he would take the reins of Televisa upon the death of Azcarraga Jean's father who was the Patriarch, Chairman and CEO of the Televisa Empire. In his wildest of dreams, El Guerro never imagined that his little cousin could make a run for the top spot at Televisa and push him out. Well, we know how that story ended.

Congratulations to Isaac Lee.

Jose Cancela is Principal of Hispanic USA Inc, a Hispanic Market Resource firm. He is also the author of "The Power of Business en Espanol, Seven Fundamental Keys to Unlocking


Jose, so what this means is that all the hard work and effort that you and others put into creating a Spanish television channel for and by US Hispanics has gone down the drain. With the influx of the Mexican elite into the US due to their cartel situation, I have noticed that Univision is placing more emphasis on Mexico and anything to do with the Mexican culture. First it was Cristina and then anyone that doesn't sound Mexican will not be able to be a talent in the "new" Univision. That's not good for the millions of Hispanics living here who want the focus to be on Hispanics as a whole and not just focus on the majority who would greatly benefit if they were open to learning about other cultures. And it was the Cuban Americans who had a great impact on the success of Spanish television. It's time for Telemundo to step up to the plate and be that channel for US Hispanics.

Great, timely commentary. I think you mean "el Güero" Burillo. Interestingly enough, a key move in solidifying Azcárraga Jean's control of Televisa was the support of Carlos Slim, who took up a 25% capital position in Televisa holco following the death of the elder Azcárraga Milmo. Once Televisa and Carso established opposing telco strategies (Televisa with triple play through cable and Telmex looking to offer video services), Slim divested. And thus their current confrontational positions. Before Televisa and Univision returned to the altar, there was a question about how serious Televisa's flirtations with Telemundo were. I guess Televisa just wanted to show that the groom was in control of the marriage.

Without a doubt waiting until Univsion started feeling the debt pressure and then swooping in to gain a vastly improved PLA and equity and thus influence was brilliant. The concern will be that Televisa begin injecting editorial views of the US Hispanic market that are more reflective of the concerns and audience in Mexico rather than truly understanding the US Latinos are completely separate and unique market. The other concern is the return of cronyism to the news department, so endemic in Mexican operations. Of course I say that as a lifelong "Chilango".

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