Univision Makes a Big Steaming Bet

(Image credit: Univision)

MIAMI—Univision Communications has unveiled ambitious plans for a global streaming service that will unify its existing streaming services and feature the world’s largest collection of originally produced Spanish-language content. 

The service, which will have a free ad-support and a premium subscription tier, is slated to bow sometime in 2022 in the U.S. and Latin America. 

“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,” said Pierluigi Gazzolo, president and chief transformation officer at Univision. 

As part of the effort, the best of the existing PrendeTV, VIX and Univision NOW services will be transitioned and unified into one global service and brand. 

The name, pricing and specific launch date for the service will be announced following the close of the Televisa-Univision merger later this year.

The two-tier streaming service will offer a differentiated product proposition, the company noted, and will be fueled by full access to Televisa’s deep content library as well as an ambitious slate of new originals produced by the leading creators in the Spanish-speaking world. 

The ad-supported tier (AVOD) will be anchored by Univision’s current free Spanish-language streaming service, PrendeTV. This free tier will feature an upgraded, broadcast quality content offering, including select originals, major studio films, premium Spanish-language titles, an expanded live sports offering and a 24/7 news service. 

In total the free tier will have over 100 linear channels and over 40,000 hours of wholly-owned and acquired content that will also be offered in VOD form, the company said. 

The new premium subscription tier (SVOD) will feature more than 6,000 hours of Spanish-language content and more than 30 original productions exclusively on the service within its first year. The original productions for the service are being developed by some of the most notable established and up-and-coming creators in Spanish-language content today, the company said, with projects from such creators as Maria Dueñas, Santiago Limon and Mario Vargas Llosa.

To develop the service, Rodrigo Mazon has joined as executive VP and general manager of SVOD, reporting directly to Pierluigi Gazzolo. 

With more than 10 years experience in streaming, Mazon joins Univision from Netflix, where he most recently served as vice president of content. Mazon will be responsible for all elements of the SVOD service, including content and programming strategy, original content production, talent relations, content acquisitions from third-party producers and subscriber growth and retention.

Mazon’s appointment follows the recent addition of Michael Cerdá as Univision’s new executive vice president of product and engineering, streaming. 

Rafael Urbina, Univision’s executive vice president and general manager, AVOD Streaming, continues to lead PrendeTV, and will lead the future free ad-supported tier both in the U.S. and internationally.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.