Apr 23, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: TelevisaUnivision will air first-ever U.S. bilingual award show

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Courtesy of TelevisaUnivision; Rapper Lil Jon joined Pitbull on stage last year at the Latin AMAs.

The Latin American Music Awards (AMAs) will be presented in a combination of English and Spanish this Thursday, marking the first time any major U.S. award show will feature a bilingual broadcast.

Why it matters: Unlike most award shows, winners for the Latin AMAs are selected by popular vote, not fellow artists. That puts an even higher premium on building a show that reflects modern U.S. Latino culture, per Ignacio Meyer, president of Univision Television Networks Group.

Catch up quick: TelevisaUnivision has the license to present several award shows, including the Latin Grammys, and also owns and operates two shows of its own, Premios Juventud and Premio Lo Nuestro.

  • Over the past few years, the Latin AMAs have attracted more U.S. viewers than the American Music Awards, speaking to the growing popularity of Spanish music and U.S. Latino culture.
  • TelevisaUnivision broadcast the Latin AMAs for the first time last year, taking the rights from Telemundo, which broadcast the show from 2015-2022.

By the numbers: More than 5 million people tuned into last year's Latin AMAs across TelevisaUnivision networks, marking a return to near pre-pandemic level viewership.

  • Last year's show attracted more U.S. Hispanic viewers than the combined U.S. Hispanic audience of the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, CMA Awards and Video Music Awards.
Average U.S. viewership of the <span style="background:#ffca8c; padding:3px 5px;color:black;">Latin AMAs</span> and the <span style="background:#d96700; padding:3px 5px;color:white;">AMAs</span>
Data: TelevisaUnivision, Digital Music News, Hollywood Reporter, TVLine, Billboard, LA Times; Note: The Latin AMAs were cancelled in 2020 and the AMAs were cancelled in 2023; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

How it works: This Thursday's Latin AMAs will highlight a fusion of music from around the world and will cross cultures between artists, said Meyer.

  • "The script for the first time is being written in Spanish and English and you'll be able to understand and follow the show in both languages," he said.
  • That means that some award acceptance speeches will be in English, some will be in Spanish, and some will feature a mix of both. Some artists will sing in a mix of both languages. It's up to show participants to decide how they will present awards, accept them and perform, Meyer said.
  • Unlike previous shows, "we're not asking them to do it in Spanish."
  • The show will again air across Univision and UniMás broadcast networks, and special highlights will be available on TelevisaUnivision's streaming service, Vix.

Zoom in: The bilingual experience for Latin AMAs will also be reflected in TelevisaUnivision's advertising and social content.

  • English, Spanish and "Spanglish" commercials will air during the show.
  • Branded campaigns from sponsors will feature both languages.

Between the lines: More American artists are trying to tap into the growing influence of the U.S. Latino population and its culture.

  • Performers for this year's Latin AMAs include Hispanic American singer and actress Becky G, who is also co-hosting the show; country music star Jennifer Nettles; and several big names in Latino music, including Peso Pluma, Anitta, Marc Anthony, and more. Presenters include DJ Steve Aoki, Victoria Justice, and others.

The big picture: Music has long served as a critical bridge between U.S. and Hispanic cultures, but the popularity of Hispanic music in the U.S. has exploded in recent years with the rise of stars such as Bad Bunny and Becky G.

  • New figures out from the Recording Industry Association of American Tuesday found that total revenue for Latin music jumped 27% year-over-year in 2023 to $1.4 billion.
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