Live from #MediaInsight: The Life of the Novela

Elizabeth Ellers, Executive Vice President, Corporate Research, UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS, offered us a Novela-cation.

The most popular Television genre in Hispanic America is Novelas, an unparalleled phenomenon. The big three for Hispanic American viewers are News, Soccer and Novelas. Novelas are viewed by 20 Million per week, including Hispanic males.

Novelas are more movie like than regular Television. Comparing Novelas to Soap Operas are not a fair comparison, Novelas have top talent, A-list dramatic actors with lavish productions, core cast throughout entire series and have a middle and end (150 episodes, 1-hr format).

Themes include Rags to Riches, love triangles, star crossed lovers, sibling rivalry and class struggles and keep up with modern life. Ugly Betty started as a Colombian, 1999 Novela. The very best Novelas stand the test of time, connecting generations of Hispanic women.

Hispanic America is OBSESSED with Novela Stars and their lives. Novelas create crossover stars, a good example is William Levy, who starred in 8 Novelas from 2006-2013, others include Salma Hayek, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Diego Luna.

Talent Trumps Looks

1. Strong acting skilles
2. Charm
3. Intelligence

Meet the Novelero (the Novela Fan)

45% of Hispanic adults consider themselves Novela die-hards
8 out of 10 viewers watch night after night
Average watcher views 4 different Novelas at the same time
62% says reminds them of roots
39% love the drama
Over 90% watch Novelas live
60% watch with a friend or relative
1/3 of women 18-49 watch with a man

Connecting with family and culture is a strong driver of viewing, it's a shared family past time that transcends gender and generations.

Novelas viewers aren't watching top-rated E-L Broadcast and Cable Dramas. Viewers are passionate and both Spanish dominant and bilingual.

Eva Luna Buick from Univision Insights on Vimeo.

Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at or @Literanista.

Valerie M. Russo Evans

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