Home On TV & Video Finding Success With The Second Screen: Univision Uses Apps To Complement Live Views

Finding Success With The Second Screen: Univision Uses Apps To Complement Live Views


MarkLUnivision hasn’t been plagued with the problem of retaining live linear viewers, one of the byproducts of the cord-cutting craze.

Although the Hispanic broadcaster claims 91% of viewers prefer to consume its content live, it still estimates visitors to its properties spend 36% more time on mobile than the average consumer.

Thus, it determined its live, linear viewer is highly engaged with his or her mobile device.

The network is using these underlying attributes to shape its linear-to-mobile game plan by capturing these users incrementally.

Its launch last month of mobile app Conecta, of which Verizon is the charter brand sponsor, will serve as a second-screen supplement to new programming, such as “La Banda,” the music competition series produced by Simon Cowell and Ricky Martin.

“It’s taking users that are watching TV and reaching them on their mobile devices in a very active way,” said Mark Lopez, EVP and GM of Univision Digital. “We’ve found we’re able to carry a [live program] schedule and maintain a dedicated audience vis-a-vis the user coming and watching our content piecemeal and on an on-demand basis.” 

The premise of Conecta is primarily to serve as an interactive canvas to accompany live viewing. Fans tuning into “La Banda” can vote for their favorite contestants in real time, access “backstage” videos, participate in polls and receive rewards for engaging with the app, which was built with app developer Screenz.

Early data shows average time spent in-app is 17 minutes with approximately 50 page views driven per visit.

“There’s also a lot of live commenting on Facebook and Twitter,” Lopez added. “We find that once people are engaged, the return rate [to the app] is very high week to week. It’s sticky, it’s incremental and I think people who haven’t been successful at the second screen may be leveraging a format or program that doesn’t lend itself to this type of interaction.”

Building screen experiences is often a thorn in the programmer’s side. Like any app developer, there is the common retention challenge of encouraging the consumer to engage with the app beyond the initial download.

Other TV apps, such as the Comcast and Viacom-backed Beamly, struggled early on to match the right programming to app-based interactions. A drama series, such as “Game of Thrones,” was more conducive to round-the-clock engagement where fans could interact and discuss the show, as opposed to a more time-sensitive, second-screen activation.


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Univision is developing a number of branded integrations, including a Toyota-sponsored activation called Mi Banda, which mimics a fantasy sports bracket but lets viewers form their own bands with their five favorite contestants from “La Banda.”

Univision’s also securing more digital partnerships outside of its owned and operated properties and apps, since its target demo – the “billennial,” a bilingual millennial – tends to leapfrog platforms.

It clinched an 18-month sponsorship of Snapchat’s Live Stories and signed on as an early content partner for Verizon’s mobile video service go90.

Univision is pursuing different avenues for original content, Lopez said, whether that’s through advertising or distribution agreements with various partners, including Verizon.

However, he noted the need for better top-line analytics across partner sites in addition to Univision’s own properties.

“We’re working on understanding what our user looks like and layering in additional data that will provide more value to advertisers,” he said. “The market is kind of challenged on the measurement side vs. a medium like TV that’s been in place with a currency like Nielsen for many years. We offer metrics around engagement and number of visitors … to supplement Nielsen ratings across our native properties including second-screen, but we’re not fully there yet.”

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