Univision Expands Millennial Reach, Making Major Digital Play with Gawker Purchase

univision purchases gawker in move to gain millennials

As audiences grow and consume news in different ways, media organizations are doing what they can to keep up.

Nowadays, news agencies are creating new technologies and platforms or partnering in unique ways to cover breaking news. A recent example is when NBCUniversal turned over its Snapchat account to the capable hands of BuzzFeed, during the Rio Games.

Media organizations also are merging.

In the multicultural space, Hispanic broadcast TV behemoth Univision recently agreed to buy Gawker Media for $135 million. In fact, the Gawker purchase is just the latest in a string of non-Hispanic online acquisitions to be integrated into Univision’s Fusion Media Group.

“Univision is worth watching,” says Joe Schramm, managing partner with Schramm Marketing Group and president of Fantástico. “The company best known for Spanish language television has been acquiring English-language media and online properties that appeal to younger demographics and diverse population segments.”

Strategic Growth Opportunities

Schramm pointed to Univision’s aggressive and strategic growth strategy: Buying out ABC’s portion of Fusion, an English-language network that targets millennials; the purchase of The Onion; being awarded Gawker Media in an auction; and acquiring African-American website, The Root.

univision buys gawker

“This consolidation serves to broaden Univision’s reach at a time when our country’s demographics are shifting us to a majority of minorities,” Schramm says. “As a result, Univision is catapulting into a position where they may become a leading voice of the new America.”

For some time, Univision has wanted to increase market share beyond its older, predominantly Spanish-preferred Hispanic audience to a broader base that includes bilingual/bicultural Hispanic millennials, says Linda Lane Gonzalez, chair of AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing and president of the viva partnership.

“[Hispanic millennials] are heavy mobile users and watch less traditional TV,” Lane Gonzalez says, adding that buying Gawker, The Onion, and The Root helps Univision connect with the racially and ethnically diverse millennial.

This further helps to establish Univision in the U.S. English-language media, expanding its online presence.

An Evolving Community

As the Hispanic marketplace grew in size, it became more diverse and segmented over the past decade, says Isaac Mizrahi, co-president and chief operating officer of Alma and chair-elect of AHAA.

And this is a fairly large group — Latinos are the nation’s youngest major ethnic group.

According to an April report on Hispanic Trends by Pew Research Center, Latinos increasingly are getting their news in English. They also are among the 50 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 49 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds who turn to online platforms for news.

How does this affect Univision’s growth plan?

Samantha Kruse, account supervisor with LEVICK, says Univision’s acquisition of Gawker could be the start of a rebranding effort by Univision to grow its core user base.

“With the acquisition of Gawker Media, Univision can greatly increase its online base and signal to other media conglomerates that it wants to become a bigger player,” Kruse says.

Consolidating Media

But there are pros and cons to this picture.

“There are pluses to media consolidation, such as production cost efficiencies, and being quicker to market,” Schramm says. “The minuses are likely to have an impact on viewer satisfaction, like eliminating a broader view and redundancy of content.”

In the end, the measure for success comes down to whether or not the viewer will consume the content.

Gonzalez says few media networks have been able to successfully engage Hispanics outside of traditional Spanish TV.

“This strategy utilized by Univision recognizes that our demographic is evolving and moves in and out of two worlds seamlessly, consuming both Spanish and English media while maintaining solid roots to their culture,” Lane Gonzalez says. “We expect others to follow in their footsteps.”

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Jessica Alas is multicultural audience director with PR Newswire. Follow her at @alasjessica. Christine Cube is a senior audience relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. Follow @cpcube or check out her latest on Beyond Bylines on PR Newswire for Journalists.

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