Univision Celebrating its Ratings Victory a Little Too Hard

Yes the win in the 18-34 demo is a national demographics harbinger. But not as big of a one as the media would like you to think.

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Summer is typically network television downtime with a shortage of original programming and not a lot of people staying indoors. So Univision may be celebrating its ratings victory a little too hard.

Yes the win in the 18-34 demo is a national demographics harbinger. But not as big of a one as the media would like you to think.

The Spanish-language broadcaster has topped prime time ratings for the month of July so far, among viewers ages 18 to 49, the audience most coveted by advertisers. The accomplishment marked the first time a Spanish-language broadcaster has held the top rating for that demographic over a month-long period, the network says.

Univisión wasn’t shy about trouncing the competition. The company issued a promotional letter that appeared on Slate carrying the slogan “Número Uno is the New #1.”

“Univision swept ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX,” the letter reads. “For the first time ever, the Network’s no-repeat lineup of primetime novelas, variety and sports made Univision America’s New #1 Network among both adults 18 – 34 and 18 – 49, including men and women. In any language.”

But put the reconquista on hold. Univision had original programming. That's key. And network viewership in general has been declining for decades. Most networks have virtually given up on summer. And many of their viewers now watch programming online, weighing ratings more toward the lower income side of the scale.

What the numbers really tell you is that the network is crashing. And cable, which has become trash television, is crashing a little more slowly.

Here's a sample of what Univision's victories look like.

For the second consecutive week, Univision’s 9 p.m. novela “La Tempestad” (The Storm) helped Univision rank as the #1 broadcast network for the hour (M-F) among Adults 18-34 and #2 among Adults 18-49.  The novela averaged 3.4 Million Total Viewers 2+, 1.7 Million Adults 18-49, and 882,000 Adults 18-34.

That's the victory we're looking at. Univision is winning with numbers that would have been infomercial territory in 1983. That's an exaggeration, but they would have been solidly last place network numbers even ten years ago.

That anyone is discussing them now conveys how badly television is doing. Univision does have a high 18-34 share reflecting internal demographics in the Latino community. CBS would kill for numbers skewed that way. But because of the proportions, not the overall size.

La Tempestad is beating original NBC programming like  “American Ninja Warrior” and “Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls”. Mostly it's beating CBS reruns and ABC reruns of shows that will clean Univision's clock when they come out of reruns.

How badly are those doing? Really, really badly.

On NBC, American Ninja Warrior hit a new season low 1.5, down a tenth from last week's season low with 1.6 adults 18-49 rating. Get Out Alive With Bear Grylis garnered a series low 1.2, down two tenths from last week's  1.4 adults 18-49 rating.  Siberia earned a series low 0.7, down a tenth from its last original's 0.8 adults 18-49 rating

Still in overall viewers, they're beating Univision. They're not running very poorly and not attracting younger viewers.