Univision claims title as top prime time television networkJuly 23, 2013: 3:28 PM ET
The Spanish-language TV network is on track to blow past traditional networks.
By Kurt Wagner, reporter
FORTUNE -- Univision is having a summer romance with viewers. Or maybe it's the other way around. The U.S.-based Spanish-language television network announced on Tuesday that it is on pace to finish the month as the most-watched primetime network in the country. After finishing fourth in the February sweeps, Univision expects to finish as the top primetime network for adults age 18-49 and 18-34, regardless of gender or language. The network's Los Angeles (KMEX) and New York (WXTV) stations are set to finish in the top two spots respectively in both age groups.
The announcement, which was the network's first ever primetime sweep over competitors like ABC (DIS), FOX (NWS) and NBC (CMCSA), came just hours before Univision president Cesar Conde took the stage at Fortune's annual Brainstorm Tech Conference in Aspen, Colo. As part of the conversation, Conde discussed the company's rapid expansion (it now has 14 cable and broadcast networks), including the challenge that comes with holding viewers when there are so many other content options outside of traditional television. "It's been an important [growth] trajectory," said Conde, who plans to continue expansion into English-language channels. "It's equally important for us as broadcast networks to constantly reinvent ourselves in the arena that we are living in right now."
Conde was joined by Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, and Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, to discuss the future of content on small and big screens alike. Much of the conversation centered on the challenge for both networks and production houses to create original content. Netflix's (NFLX) House of Cards continues to serve as the poster child for successful original content creation despite uncertainty over how many new subscribers the show actually snagged. "They went out to create a great program and make it available to their subscribers and they did that," says Zimmer, citing how many failed pilots traditional networks often have before finding a hit. "That's really, really hard to do."
Of course, television isn't the only form of original content, and it appears that the traditional movie business isn't in fear of falling behind: Relativity makes between $18 million and $20 million on average per film produced, according to Kavanaugh. Relativity isn't limiting itself to movies, either. After producing the film Catfish (2010), the premise behind the movie (using social media to create a fake identity to trick friends or strangers) led to a "Catfish" television show on MTV. "Good content can come from anywhere," says Conde. "For corporations for advertisers, and for companies that are just trying to tap into growth, I think it forces them to take a step back and do more homework about where is good content potentially coming from."