The ad-supported, 24-hour pay-TV channel will be initially distributed across the region, except in Brazil, “in early 2020,” an announcement said Tuesday. Televisa will operate it and also handle distribution and ad sales. Univision and Televisa will collaborate on programming and marketing for the channel.
The linear venture deepens existing ties between the two entities. For decades, Univision has aired a broad portfolio of programs produced by Televisa. In 2017, the two merged their programming operations in a bid to shore up ratings declines brought on by stiffer competition from rival Telemundo and also streaming services like Netflix, which have ramped up internationally.
As it prepares for the Latin America launch, Univision faces an uncertain road ahead. Last July, it confirmed it had begun formally exploring strategic options, including a potential sale, with private equity stakeholders growing restless nearly 13 years after taking part in the $13.7 billion privatization of the company. On the company’s most recent earnings call with analysts last November, CEO Vincent Sadusky said he had no updates to provide on the strategic review. Many analysts have wondered if an established media player — Discovery has been one rumored candidate — would have the appetite for a major deal while still digesting large ones of their own. (Discovery closed its $14.6 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks in March 2018.)
In their announcement of the new network plan, Univision and Televisa said it will feature a blend of titles from Univision Studios and Televisa. The roster includes morning show “Despierta América” (Wake Up America), entertainment magazine “El Gordo y La Flaca” (The Scoop and the Skinny), news magazine “Primer Impacto” (Prime Impact) and more. Televisa contributions would include “some of the most popular telenovelas in the world,” the companies said, but specific titles were not named.
“Through this new channel, millions of people in Latin America will be able to access premier content, through an authorized network, across the region,” said Fernando Muñiz, General Director of Televisa Networks and Televsa Internacional. “We continue to experience rapid growth all over the world due to partnerships with outstanding media players, as Univision, and we are excited to take the next step of this expansion in Latin America.
“For decades, the Univision brand has been synonymous with outstanding programming that entertains, informs and empowers Hispanics in the U.S. – and part of that has been by telling stories about the people and stories that they care about from Latin America,” said Glenn Dryfoos, EVP, business affairs and general counsel for Univision Networks. “We couldn’t be more excited to be introducing Univision to new audiences in these 17 countries that are closely connected through culture, history and family.”