Univision Launching Global Spanish-Language Streaming Service; Hires Netflix Executive

Univision Communications June 21 unveiled plans for a comprehensive global streaming service, which includes both free ad-supported and premium subscription-based options, to launch in the U.S. and Latin America in 2022.

The two-tier streaming service, which is targeting Netflix’s Spanish-language strategy and includes the launch of more than 30 original programs in 2021, says it would offer a differentiated product proposition, vast content scope, expansive library and more originals than any other streaming service.

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According to a separate U.S. survey in March 2020, Hispanic Americans were the most likely to have a current Netflix subscription, with 63% saying that they subscribed to the service, compared with 51% of white respondents. Interestingly, Statista found that more Hispanic adults than respondents from any other ethnic group said that they had never heard of Netflix.

Netflix ended its most-recent fiscal period with more than 207 million subscribers worldwide.

Wade Davis

The Univision service will be fueled by full access to Televisa’s content library and IP as well as an ambitious slate of new originals. Miami-based Univision, under the direction of former Viacom CFO Wade Davis, plans to meld PrendeTV, VIX and Univision Now streaming services into one global service and brand. Brand, pricing and specific launch date for the service will be announced following the close of the Televisa-Univision merger later this year.

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 proposition, including select originals, major studio films, premium Spanish-language titles, an expanded live sports offering and a unique 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 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.

Univision has hired Rodrigo Mazon as EVP and GM of SVOD, reporting directly to Pierluigi Gazzolo, president and chief transformation officer. With more than 10 years experience in streaming, Mazon joins Univision from Netflix, where he most recently served as a VP 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.

Rodrigo Mazon

Mazon’s appointment follows the recent addition of Michael Cerdá as Univision’s new EVP of product and engineering, streaming. Cerdá joined the company from Disney+, where he was global head of product, and oversees the product and engineering strategy for Univision’s streaming portfolio. Rafael Urbina, Univision’s EVP & GM, AVOD Streaming, continues to lead PrendeTV, and will lead the future free ad-supported tier both 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 the nearly 600 million Spanish speakers around the world,” Gazzolo said in a statement.

“Rodrigo brings to Univision more than a decade of streaming experience from leading services such as Netflix and Hulu, where he established a proven track record of identifying programming trends that quickly engaged audiences as well as attracting notable creative talent across the entertainment industry.”

The SVOD tier will launch with more than 30 original productions throughout 2022.

“The previously announced merger between Televisa and Univision will create a company of unprecedented creative resources in the Spanish-speaking world,” Mazon said.

Davis, who closed the acquisition of Univision with third-party investors less than six months ago, said current streaming initiatives have resulted in generating more than seven million subscribers.

“Pierlugi has brought together some of the best streaming executives in the industry,” 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.”

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