Univision Takes Aim At Netflix, Setting 2022 Launch Of Streaming Service With Subscription Tier

Univision plans to launch a two-tier streaming service next year in the U.S. and Latin America, calling the premium offering a milestone for the Hispanic market.

The new service will have more Spanish-language originals than any other streaming service, the company pledged. It is positioned to take access of the new ownership structure at Univision. In April, the company said it would acquire the production assets of Televisa, a longtime stakeholder, in a $4.8 billion merger. Mexico-based Televisa has long been a prolific producer of Spanish-language fare.

The new streaming service will encompass PrendeTV, the free, ad-supported service that Univision launched earlier this year, as well as Vix and Univision Now. Branding, pricing and launch dates will be announced after the Univision-Televisa merger is approved, according to the official announcement of the plan.

The ad-supported tier of the new service will be anchored by Prende, which will offer select originals and acquired movies, live sports and news, 100 linear channels and 40,000 hours of on-demand programming. The premium subscription level will add more than 6,000 hours of Spanish-language content and more than 30 exclusive originals in its first year.

Univision said the new exclusive shows will feature Maria Dueñas, Santiago Limon and Mario Vargas Llosa. The company also announced Mujer del Diablo, an original series created by Leonardo Padron, the writer of Univision and Televisa series Amar a MuerteRubi and Si Nos Dejan. Univision also said it has set a development deal with Caracol Televisión, 360 Powwow and Isla Audiovisual for historical series No Llegaron Solos. Other talent and projects will be announced in coming weeks.

The company’s goal is to bring subscribers more Spanish-language originals than any other streaming service. Netflix, which has scored with global hits like Elite and Money Heist, is continuing to roll out Spanish-language fare.

The Univision executive suite is expanding as the company ramps up its streaming efforts. Rodrigo Mazon has joined the company as EVP & GM of SVOD, reporting directly to Pierluigi Gazzolo, President and Chief Transformation Officer at Univision.

Mazon comes to Univision from Netflix, where he was VP of content. Mazon will be responsible for all elements of the SVOD service. Those elements include content and programming strategy, original content production, talent relations, content acquisitions from third-party producers and subscriber growth and retention.

Prior to Mazon’s arrival, the company named former Disney+ global product chief Michael Cerdá as its EVP, Product and Engineering, Streaming. Rafael Urbina, Univision’s EVP & GM, AVOD Streaming, will continue to steer PrendeTV and will guide the free, ad-supported tier of the forthcoming service in the U.S. and internationally.

“Today’s announcement is a quantum leap in Univision’s transformation as we aggressively scale and expand our streaming capabilities to bring thousands of hours of premium, original content to the nearly 600 million Spanish speakers around the world,” Gazzolo said in a press release. “We are excited to announce our new SVOD service as a powerful cornerstone of this strategy, providing us the opportunity to reach global audiences with high-quality, original programming from distinguished producers and top talent not available anywhere else. With PrendeTV, and now with our SVOD offering, Univision is uniquely positioned to satisfy the global demand for premium Spanish-language content, the last truly meaningful open lane in global video streaming.”

Mazon said the Univision-Televisa combination “will create a company of unprecedented creative resources in the Spanish-speaking world. I could not be more excited to join such a unique company and visionary team at a pivotal time in Univision’s growth and transformation trajectory.”

Prior to the deal, Univision itself had undergone a major ownership change, shifting from one set of private investors to another. A group led by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis took control of the company at the end of 2020. Davis now leads Univision as CEO.

“With today’s announcement we are giving an early view into the scale and scope of our streaming ambitions,” Davis said. “With this team and the resources we are allocating, we will launch a service that is differentiated, high quality and best in class.”

https://deadline.com/2021/06/univision-streaming-netflix-hispanic-prendetv-subscription-2022-1234778602/