- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton, brought in by the Univision television network to talk to advertisers on Tuesday, urged companies to follow a policy of “radical inclusiveness” in their business dealings.

It’s evident from politics and world events that for people who try to divide groups and offer unequal employment opportunities, “good things are not happening,” Clinton said.

Univision Communication Inc., which operates the Spanish-speaking Univision and other cable and digital properties, was outlining future programming plans for potential business partners. The company invited Clinton for a 15-minute question-and-answer session with Alicia Menendez, reporter for the Fusion network, and singer Ricky Martin for entertainment.

“I am well aware that I am just the warm-up act for Ricky Martin,” Clinton said.

In his plea for inclusiveness, Clinton said he was optimistic for the future even in the Middle East, despite the rise of the Islamic State militant group. In the short term, he said he worried that “people who want to kill their way to the top” can bring down vulnerable countries.

“You may win a lot of elections with divisiveness, but you won’t make a lot of progress,” he said.

Asked what advice he’d give to a candidate seeking to court the Hispanic vote, Clinton said the person needed a sound proposal for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. He didn’t mention and wasn’t asked about his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Univision made an aggressive play for advertising dollars on Tuesday, noting that 13 of the top 50 companies that place commercials on the top English-language networks do not advertise on Univision, which is by far the nation’s most popular Spanish-speaking network.

“They aren’t missing an opportunity that is somewhere in the future,” said Steve Mandala, the company’s executive vice president for ad sales. “The opportunity is right now.”

Companies like JC Penney, Tylenol, Papa John’s and Nissan are increasing sales among Hispanics at a higher percentage than English speakers because they are concentrating on the market, he said.

While slightly more than half of the programming on the top English-language networks is watched live (as opposed to on-demand or saved on DVRs), Mandala said that more than 90 percent of Univision programs are watched when they are scheduled. That means advertisers can have a much greater certainty that their commercials are going to be watched on Univision, he said.

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