Univision to Launch VOD in January

On the heels of announcing its 2008-09 lineup and first-quarter results, Univision Communications said it will jump into the video-on-demand arena next year, offering up to 1,000 hours of programming across genres, including full soccer matches from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The new offering, announced at the Cable Show in New Orleans this week, will include sports, news, movies and entertainment from Univision, Telefutura and Galavisión, and will create the most extensive U.S. library of Spanish-language content.

In announcing the deal, executive VP of distribution sales and marketing Tonia O’Connor said the VOD packages are part of the company’s carriage-renewal negotiations for its primary Univision network, as well as sister broadcast service Telefutura and cable channel Galavision. Other programming available on the VOD platform include awards show Premio Lo Nuestro a la Música Latina, Premios Juventud and several other lifestyle, news, sports and reality programs.

In an interview with a Multichannel News reporter, O’Connor said the network was “in conversations with a number of different distributors and expect to have deals in the near term,” although she declined to comment about whether terms centered on cash compensation.

Univision, which owns and operates 62 TV stations in the United States and Puerto Rico, has indicated in the past that it is seeking retransmission-consent fees of up to $1 per subscriber.

On Univision’s first-quarter conference call with investors earlier this month, CFO Andy Hobson declined to give specifics about the status of those negotiations, but said: “I don’t want to negotiate with them in a public forum, but [the operators] understand what we are looking for, and they understand the value of our signal and our network.”