Univision Sold

The company that owns Cleveland’s WQHS/61 is being sold in a $12.3 billion deal.

The group buying the Spanish-language network Univision is led by a big name in media – Haim Saban. He’s best known for producing the show which put him on the TV programming map – “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”. As co-founder and part-owner of FOX Family Worldwide, he has produced a number of childrens programs for the folks at FOX.

No, that doesn’t mean Univision is about to become “KidsVision”. The Spanish-language segment of U.S. broadcasting has exploded over the years, and Saban’s group is no doubt eager to keep Univision’s dominance there. The network is a clear number one among U.S. Hispanic viewers up against NBC-owned Telemundo.

Here’s an example of how the sector (and Univision) is growing: The network’s broadcast of 2006 World Cup competition is blowing through viewer records. MediaWeek reports that Saturday’s contest between Mexico and Argentina drew 6.7 million viewers, including nearly four and a half million in the cherished 18-49 demo.

The overall World Cup picture for Univision is quite strong, with triple digit percentage increases in viewers over the 2002 World Cup. And in a new rights deal for future World Cup events, the Spanish-language broadcaster is paying over three times the rights fees than ABC/ESPN.

Unless the new owners come in and find a strategic reason for selling off WQHS (like, for example, Cleveland’s small Hispanic market), we don’t see any changes happening here…

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