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Univision Launches Streaming Service

Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has added its name to the growing list of networks with direct-to-consumer streaming services, launching Univision NOW, allowing viewers to watch live broadcasts of its Univision and UniMás networks and their full lineups of telenovelas, sports, news, award shows and other content for $5.99 per month or $59 per year.

“Our loyal and passionate audience leads the market in live television viewing, and also over indexes on smartphone penetration and digital video consumption,” Univision president of Content Distribution and Corporate Business Development Tonia O’Connor said in a release. “Therefore, providing access to our broadcast networks, Univision and UniMás, on mobile devices is critical to our mission to entertain, empower and inform. “In addition to our robust TV Everywhere offering for pay TV subscribers, we now have a solution for our viewers who watch our networks over the air. Our goal is to serve all U.S. Hispanics.”

The launch comes after the Spanish-language broadcaster said in July it intended to launch an initial public offering, which has gained little traction as media stocks have sunk in recent months. Univision would be one of the few free public broadcasters to offer a subscription streaming service. CBS launched CBS All Access about a year ago, which includes a robust content library of past shows, but not all of the network’s broadcast content, like NFL football.

Other networks like Home Box Office with HBO Now, Showtime with its OTT offering and other services like Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue and Verizon’s go90 have all been launched to tap into the elusive market for younger viewers, who according to some research are abandoning pay TV for a mixture of online video and subscription video on demand content.

Not all of Univision’s content will be available through Univision NOW – particularly certain movies that are on the UniMás network. But the broadcaster said it has full digital rights to soccer matches and other sports. The OTT service also includes access to local news in New York, Los Angeles and Houston for customers in those markets. Other local news markets are expected to follow.

Subscribers to Univision NOW also will receive access to primetime content up to seven days after its linear premier, three-day DVR functionality on live streams and push notifications to watch live breaking news.

Univision and UniMás are currently available over the air for free and via TV Everywhere apps that require a pay TV subscription. With the OTT service, the networks apparently hope to attract cord-cutters who have severed their video relationships with cable, satellite TV and telco TV operators.  

According to Univision, its viewers over-index on mobile, digital video and social media. According to the network, Hispanics spend 36% more time on smartphones per week than the general market, and engage with apps 18% more than the general population, as well as consume 12 hours of online video a month, according to a Nielsen Total Audience Report Q1 2015.