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Univision will launch a two-tiered streaming service next year, as the Spanish-language streaming battle heats up.
Univision's PrendeTV will offer free ad-supported content as well as a premium service. The free version will include originals, more recent major studio films as well as new features including live sports and a 24/7 news service.
The company will be competing with Netflix, ViacomCBS' Pluto TV, Discovery's Vix and Fox's Tubi services that all also offer Spanish-language media catered to American audiences. Telemundo, another American Spanish-language network and Univision's largest competitor, offers some of its programming on Peacock, NBCUniversal's streaming platform. Last month it announced plans for a Spanish-language production studio.
"The market is underserved. If you combine all the top global subscription services [Netflix, Amazon, etc.], the percentage of content that is originally produced in Spanish is still in single digits," said Univision President and Chief Transformation Officer Pierluigi Gazzolo. "In our world, at least 90% of the content will be created in Spanish, or with a heavy cultural influence."
The premium subscription tier, overseen by Neftlix and Hulu veteran Rodrigo Mazon, will include at least 30 original productions from some heavy hitter creatives, including writer Maria Dueñas, who will develop her first-ever series exclusively for Univision.
"Hasta Que la Boda Nos Separe" director Santiago Limón will collaborate with "Jane the Virgin" and "Ugly Betty" executive producer Ben Silverman to bring "Pinches Momias" — an action, horror and comedy series in which Guanajuato's renowned mummies come back from the dead during the busiest week of the year.
Univision also secured the first ever TV adaptation of Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa's "Travesuras de la Niña Mala," which follows an epic love story set in the 1960s across various cities in Europe.
Gazzolo pointed out that the Latino market is overrepresented in streaming. He said 78% of Latinos stream, as opposed to the general market, where about half of viewers stream.
Earlier this year, the company merged with Mexico's Grupo Televisa in a $4.8 billion deal that created a media giant. The deal will give Univision access to an iconic telenovela library and entrance into the world's largest Spanish-language speaking country.
Brand, pricing and the specific launch date for the streaming service will be announced following the close of the merger later this year.
Univision announced their plans earlier this year, but had not set a date did not reveal details.
Univision's PrendeTV Pushes Into Spanish-Language Streaming with a Free Service. It Has Competition.
Under new leadership, Univision is pushing into streaming with PrendeTV, a free Spanish-language streaming service expected to launch this quarter. And with so many new entrants into the space, it will face tough competition.
PrendeTV boasts that it's the only entirely Spanish platform, with even its library menu written in Spanish.
At its launch, PrendeTV will offer over 30 channels and 10,000 hours of ad-supported streaming, the company announced this week. Univision has yet to announce a launch date but has confirmed that titles "Nosotros Los Guapos," "Strawberry Shortcake," "Walking Tall," "Amar A Muerte," "Love Nature" and "Lo Mejor De Liga MX" will be offered on PrendeTV.
Telemundo, another American Spanish-language network and Univision's largest competitor, offers some of its programming on Peacock, NBCUniversal's streaming platform. But it doesn't have an exclusive Spanish language platform. Meanwhile, ViacomCBS' Pluto TV, Discovery's Vix and Fox's Tubi services all also offer Spanish-language media catered to American audiences.
"The most important thing is that [PrendeTV] has been built from the ground up for the U.S. Hispanic," said Univision Chief Digital Officer Sameer Deen. "What we see as an opportunity is that the U.S. Hispanics are really underrepresented and underserved in the streaming marketplace. We are really taking the time, the energy and bringing all our expertise, to build a product that is 100% in Spanish language, in-culture and really offers a unique and compelling user experience."
Latino households make up a large portion of streaming video-on-demand subscriptions, according to a Nielsen report on Latino cultural connectivity. Seventy-eight percent of Latino households have at least one streaming video-on-demand subscription, compared to less than three-quarters of the total U.S. population.
"This move is a validation that there's a growing market [for Spanish-language media] in general," said Alejandro Rojas, the director of applied analytics at Parrot Analytics. "Spanish spoken content is actually increasing in demand. Overall, it's actually growing faster than English speaking content, though on a much smaller scale."
Late last year, Univision was acquired by Grupo Televisa, Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight, an investment firm founded by Wade Davis, the former chief financial officer of Viacom and Univision's chief executive.
"The announcement of PrendeTV within two weeks of closing our acquisition of Univision underscores our focus and commitment to rapidly driving the transformation and growth of the company," said Davis in a statement.