Hispanic VOD Adoption: MSOs' Next Challenge

When Univision on Demand launched in early 2009, the volume
of Spanish-language video-on-demand content mushroomed from a limited selection
to more than 1,000 hours, all for free.

Nonetheless, not only were viewers slow to adopt the
service, as Univision recently learned, but they perceived it as a premium
product they had to pay extra for -- so they stayed as far away from it as

According to a study commissioned by the No. 1
Spanish-language broadcaster this summer, 50% of Spanish-dominant respondents
said they'd never heard of Univision on Demand, while another 25% said they
believed VOD to be a service they had to pay extra for.

And 30% of Hispanics with access to VOD said they never use
the service, according to the survey.

"We don't see that as a problem, but rather as an
opportunity," Jennifer Ball, Univision's vice president of distribution
marketing, said in an interview with Hispanic TV Update.

Univision used the study's result to launch a flight of TV
spots, via ad agency Blanco Lorenz in Coral Gables, Fla., in which Hispanics
talk about their "passion" for steamy novelas or their favorite Latin artists,
and how great it is to watch such content on VOD. English-language versions of
the spots were also produced and made available to distributors.

But for some providers -- including Comcast, the nation's largest
cable operator -- boosting Univision On Demand isn't as easy as just running the

 "We like the
[Univision] spots, but here at Comcast we have certain messaging guidelines we
have to follow," Roberto Perez, director of Hispanic marketing at Comcast, said.
That MSO is working closely with Univision to implement more targeted
promotions and messaging using some of Univision's most popular programming,
including dancing competition Mira quien
and popular telenovela Cuando
me enamoro

 "We want to use
certain content to tell the [cable] story," Perez said. He cited the need for
education in Houston and Sacramento, Calif. - two Comcast markets with low
Hispanic cable penetration, where viewers can access as many as 12
Latino-targeted over-the-air TV stations.

As for Comcast's Hispanic VOD offering, Perez agrees with
some of Univision's findings.

 "We have noticed that
Hispanics fear they will be charged for content that is actually free," he said.
"We need to do a better job communicating with them about our offering."