Univision Acquires Stake In The Onion, Massively Upgrades News Division

January 19th, 2016 11:55 AM

Sometimes art imitates life, and sometimes real life imitates The Onion. In the case of Univision, art and life and self-parody have now come full circle.

From Variety:

There’s nothing funny about it: Spanish-language media titan Univision Communications has purchased a minority stake in Onion Inc., the backer of the popular satire and humor site The Onion, part of an effort by the company to court younger consumers.

The move follows Univision’s purchase of The Root, a website aimed at African-American consumers, from Graham Holdings last year and its launch with ABC News of the cable network Fusion, which aims for younger viewers and extends into digital media, in 2013.

Actually, the whole thing reeks of tragic comedy. This transaction is another brainchild of Isaac Lee, Chief News and Digital Officer at Univision, as well as CEO of Fusion.

Recall that Fusion was originally intended for the U.S. born children of Hispanic immigrants that may have outgrown Univision's Spanish-language-only offerings of game shows, telenovelas, celebrity gossip shows, and heavily-slanted news. At least, that's how Disney was sold on partnering with Univision on the project. However, that initial vision tanked. Fusion was subsequently repurposed as a left-wing Millenial channel (with predictably left-wing Millenially content), and Disney has recently announced that it is done burning cash on this venture.

The untold truth behind this acquisition (as well as that of The Root) and Univision's aggressive expansion into English-language media (via The Flama and the El Rey network) is that of a mad scramble to maintain demographic relevance in the midst of uncertainty with its core product offerings. It was none other than Jorge Ramos himself that admitted that Spanish-language media (and by extension its largest provider, Univision) needs a steady flow 1-2 million immigrants a year into the United States, legal or otherwise, and for a majority of them to be Spanish speakers.

Given Univision News' descent into left-wing self parody under Lee's tenure, an Onion takeover would actually be a massive improvement. At a minimum one hopes that Lee does not extend his reverse Midas touch to America's leading purveyor of fake news and analysis, as we already have a glut of whiny, self-rightous lefty outlets to contend with. Given Lee's track record, though, we sadly expect the opposite.

Long live The Onion.

Tell the Truth 2016