Univision Steps Up Its Streams Into TV Everywhere
Multiplatform efforts produce new channels, distribution
By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/24/2012 12:01:00 AM
“We used every part of our distribution to first promote [the forums] and then to carry it,” notes Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications. “It was a milestone moment.”
Cesar Conde, president of the Univision Networks, says, “We were able to bring all the election coverage across all platforms to a community that was hungry for information and on Election Day helped elect the president.”
The candidate forum is one of many examples of Univision’s efforts to expand its programming on TV, online, social media and mobile that led to the company being named the 2012 B&C Multiplatform Broadcaster of the Year.
Making more content available on more devices is crucial for all broadcasters, but it is particularly important for Univision. The company’s rapidly growing Hispanic target audience skews younger than the general population and is much more active on digital media.
The average Univision viewer is 38, versus 39 for The CW, 46 for Fox and 50 for NBC, according to Nielsen. Likewise, about 70% of all Hispanics have a smartphone, compared with 54% of non-Hispanics, and 41% stream video on their phones, compared with about 28% of non-Hispanics, according to Nielsen.
“With an audience that over-indexes on new technology, we felt that the new emerging media landscape was one that Univision could take great advantage of,” Falco notes. “As the audience fragments, we wanted to make sure that there was a Univision-branded piece of content available no matter where our audience was consuming content.”
Over the last 18 months, Falco notes, Univision has increased its linear channels from two broadcast networks and one cable network to 12 linear channels. It also expanded the number of digital subchannels using its broadcast spectrum to 30 with the recent deal to carry the African-American-targeted Bounce TV network.
In the digital arena, Univision launched an ambitious UVideos digital platform that provides content from all its networks to computers, smartphones, tablets, the Xbox 360 gaming platform, and other Internet-connected devices. And Univision has been aggressively cutting TV Everywhere deals with operators that make large amounts of content available to authenticated subscribers.
Univision has also pushed to better target the diversity of the Hispanic community by offering both Spanish- and English-language content. In 2013, these efforts will expand further as part of a joint venture with ABC News to launch a cable news channel.
Univision’s ratings are healthy. At a time when ABC, CBS and Fox saw declines in the November sweeps, Univision’s TV ratings were up by 2%. Meanwhile, digital video streams across Univision Interactive were up 55% to 255 million in the first 11 months of the year.
Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media and enterprise development at the company, expects digital traffic to continue to grow in 2013 as users become more aware of the UVideos digital channel and the company continues to ramp up the amount of content it offers.
For example, the large Mexican broadcaster Televisa, which has long supplied the primetime programming that has been so crucial to Univision’s success on television, is now working with Univision on Web extras to help promote its big novelas and on Webonly content, Conroy notes.
Univision is also working with its programming partners to develop broadband channels for YouTube. “We have done four Web novelas so far and expect to do more in the future,” Conroy says.
Additionally, the company has been expanding its digital offerings as part of a larger TV Everywhere strategy.
“We built UVideos from the ground up as a TV Everywhere, authenticated service,” notes Tonia O’Connor, president of distribution sales and marketing at the company, who has cut TV Everywhere deals with Dish, Cablevision, AT&T’s U-verse and Verizon’s FiOS.
As part of a deal with U-verse, Univision is even offering live streams of the broadcast network in the home to Internet-connected devices. In the future, the company is planning to make that content available outside of the home.
“I think we are the only broadcast network to do that,” Falco says, adding that live sporting events will be particularly popular.
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