Jan 12, 2021 - Economy

Scoop: Univision enters the streaming wars with "PrendeTV"

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S., will announce today the launch of "PrendeTV," a free, ad-supported streaming service, sources tell Axios.

The big picture: Univision becomes the latest major broadcaster to jump into the streaming wars.

  • The service is set to launch in the first quarter of this year.
  • Univision rival Telemundo doesn't have its streaming service, but its programming is featured on Peacock, the streaming service launched last year from its parent NBCUniversal and Comcast.

The service will feature both live, linear channels and on-demand content, sources tell Axios. It will include 30 live, linear streaming channels at launch, each of which will focus on different categories, such as movies, news, sports, comedies, etc.

  • All of the programming will be in Spanish.
  • The service will feature a linear TV-like experience, where all of the content is organized into various ad-supported channels, but it can all be streamed digitally.
  • Each channel will be dedicated to a specific theme or genre like movies, novelas, and comedies.
  • The service will feature 10,000 hours of video-on-demand programming from both Univision and Televisa's libraries that will not available on any other streaming platform.
  • The app for PrendeTV, which in Spanish means "turn on," will be available via that PrendeTV app and via desktop and mobile web. The app will be available for free on connected TVs.

The big picture: Last month, Former Viacom CFO Wade Davis’ ForgeLight LLC and Searchlight Capital closed their acquisition of 64% of Univision. The company's biggest programmer, Televisa, will retain the remaining 36%.

  • Following the announcement of the deal last year, Davis — who helped build out ViacomCBS's free, ad-supported strategy, told Deadline: “It’s really remarkable when you look at the competitive landscape that there is no high-quality, differentiated OTT service for this audience that is at scale. … It’s a huge opportunity that is completely open from a competitive standpoint.”

Be smart: Univision is a little late to enter the streaming wars, but new ownership is looking to push aggressively into digital in the months ahead.

  • In late 2019, then-CEO Vince Sadusky told Axios that the company had no plans to launch its own streaming service.
  • Sources say changes in the media landscape, accelerated by the pandemic, and changes in leadership, are reasons the company has decided to venture into streaming.

What's next: The company on Monday announced the hiring of veteran TV ad sales chief Donna Speciale, to lead the company's ad sales.

Go deeper: Univision sells majority stake to private investors

Go deeper