Univision Looks To Drive TVE with World Cup

Univision Communications Inc. is turning to the appeal of the World Cup to kick up its TV Everywhere push.

The Spanish-language rights-holder to the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil is live-streaming the tourney's first 56 matches and related content, plus other soccer fare available to any user, before serving up the money end of the tournament to authenticated Univision video subscribers. As such, the final eight WC matches – from the quarterfinals to the final in Estadio do Maracana on July 13 will be available digitally only to verified subscribers.

As the tourney unfolds, Univision will begin a layered multimedia messaging plan to alert users/viewers to the benefits of TVE, relative to the World Cup action, as well as the primetime entertainment fare the U.S. Spanish-language media leader makes available from its suite of networks. The initiative will culminate with a call to action, informing users/viewers that if they want to see the most important matches of FIFA’s famed tourney they will have to go through the authentication process, indicating they are subscribers to video networks.

Univision Communications executive vice president of marketing and content partnerships Jennifer Ball said the programmer set the ball rolling with the debut of its new sports app in March. Trading off NeuLion’s Sports Platform, the new ad-supported app, proffers interactive access to high-quality, live streaming coverage of other Univision soccer matches, including LigaMX action. It also offers in-match, virtual real-time highlights and stats, video highlights, schedules, individual club news, rosters and more.

“The plan was to get them accustomed to live-streaming with LigaMX and other soccer coverage,” said Ball, before Univision kicks into what she calls the “open-trial period” with World Cup group stage play, including three games from the Mexican national team (pictured) and the round of 16 matches. 

“The World Cup holds great value for many of our viewers,” said Ball. “It’s not so easy to authenticate, but we think many will enjoy the live-streaming during the open-trial period, and will have a deep emotional connection to the World Cup and want to authenticate.”

Currently, the programmer makes content available via UVideos.com and the UVideos mobile app. The programmer's subscribers can now watch an array of telenovelas, news, sports, specials, and popular Televisa fare, in Spanish or subtitled in English, from flagship service Univision, broadcaster UniMas and cable networks Galavision and Univision Deportes, as well as novella service tlNovelas and news channel FOROtv. For the most part, the content is available on a day-after basis, with some fare accessible within hours of its linear premiere.

Ball said Univision’s progress with TVE is “on par with the rest of the industry,” without specifying sign-up or usage ratios. 

She said Univision has TVE deals in place with all of the nation’s top 10 distributors, save for Comcast, which is also the only major affiliate that doesn’t carry the 40-million subscriber cable service, Univision Deportes Network. Starting on June 9, UDN will become the 24/7 home of the tournament, including simulcasts of 56 matches with flagship Univision broadcast network.

World Cup TVE promos will air during halftime and post- match coverage. On-air personalities on Weekday morning show, Despierta América (Wake Up America) will also be flagging the opportunity, as will on-air snipes. A FAQ section can also be found on its website

“We’ll have different messages for different platforms, all aimed toward getting the people excited about TVE,” said Ball, who noted sign-up particulars will manifest in the digital area.

Ball said Univision also will deploy some of the tactics it used to introduce video-on-demand offerings and when it initiated its TVE plan. To that end, users will be able to call an 800-numbers and have customer services reps assist with the verification procedure. “We will give them the benefit of our understanding and walk them through the different components,” she explained.

Univision wants to put best practices into play and stands among the coalition of programmers and operators backing marketing group CTAM’s industry-wide marketing effort to promote “tv everywhere.”

“Our goal is to make sure subscribers connect to our content, whenever and wherever they want,” Ball said.