Televisa and Univision executives said a new global OTT service to launch early next year will roll up their current streaming offerings — including Prende TV, Vix and Blim — and that its content won’t overlap with Univision’s linear networks.
They also revealed in a press call that John Malone’s Liberty Global is an investor in the new company called Televisa-Univison.
As reported Tuesday evening, Univision will pay $4.8 billion for the content assets of Televisa, a Mexican production powerhouse that already was a minority owner of Univision. The two companies will create Televisa-Univision, which will be the largest player in Spanish-speaking media. Grupo Televisa will be the biggest stakeholder, owning 45%. Investment firms Searchlight and ForgeLight, founded by Univision CEO and former Viacom exec Wade Davis, will own 38%.
Additional investment in the new entity is coming from the SoftBank Latin America Fund, Google and The Raine Group. Televisa Co-CEO Alfonso de Angoitia said Wednesday that these investors along with Liberty Global will own 17% of Televisa-Univision.
Gaining momentum in an underserved and wide-open Spanish-language streaming market was a key driver of the deal, execs noted on the call, but said it was too early to provide details of the new service.
“What we can say is that this will be one platform,” Davis said. Univision launched Prende TV in late March and also recently acquired Vix. Televisa operates the Blim TV subscription video on demand service.
“We have a powerful nascent portfolio of properties [that] will be harmonized into one global platform under one brand that we will put all of our energy behind.”
As have operators of other streamers, he said there will “still be opportunities for content licensing but our number one priority is to be supporting our own platform.”
Davis said anticipated cost synergies of $200 to $300 million should be realized by late 2022 or early 2023 and that the combined company expects to generate free cash flow of $5.5 billion. Those resources will help fund investment in original streaming content.
“From a content standpoint there will be no overlapping with the [linear] channels’ content that we sell to our MVPD distributors, which we think is an important point,” Davis added. “Both have complementary value propositions and we will work with third party distributors, our MVPD partners and mobile partners to drive the launch of product.”
Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Group International and board member of Univision, said less than 10% of the world’s Spanish speakers use a streaming service versus 70% of English speakers. The partners in Mexico and the U.S. already reach 100 million households with current offerings and the new OTT service will give global reach.
“We think we can be rewarded the same way the market rewarded Disney when it started Disney+,” he said. Disney+ is the gold standard for new OTT launches, but the market has grown crowded. Netflix has also been boosting its Spanish-language offerings.
Grupo Televisa shares soared as much as 37% in New York after news of the deal and they’re currently trading up 22%.