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Univision Uses World Cup to Kick-Start TVE

Univision Communications is using the appeal of the World Cup to kick up its TV everywhere push.

The Spanish-language rights-holder to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will live-stream the first 56 World Cup matches and related content to any user, before serving up the money end of the tournament to authenticated Univision video subscribers. The final eight WC matches — from the quarterfinals to the final in Estádio do Maracanã on July 12 — will be available digitally only to verified subscribers.

As the tourney unfolds, Univision will begin a layered multimedia messaging plan plugging the benefits of TVE relative to the World Cup action, and the primetime entertainment fare the U.S. Spanish-language media leader makes available from its suite of networks.

Univision Communications executive vice president of marketing and content partnerships Jennifer Ball said the programmer set the ball rolling by debuting a new sports app in March. Trading off NeuLion’s Sports Platform, the new ad-supported app offers interactive access to high-quality, live-streamed coverage of other Univision soccer matches, including LigaMX games from Mexico. Other features include in-match highlights and stats.

“The plan was to get them accustomed to live-streaming with LigaMX and other soccer coverage” before Univision kicks into an “open-trial period” with World Cup group stage play and the round-of-16 matches, Ball said.

“The World Cup holds great value for many of our viewers,” she said. “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.”

Univision now makes content available via website and the UVideos mobile app. Verified customers can watch telenovelas, news, sports, specials and popular Televisa programming, in Spanish or subtitled in English, from Univision, UniMas and cable networks Galavisión and Univision Deportes, as well as novela service tlNovelas and news channel FOROtv.

Mostly, content is available on a next-day basis, with some fare accessible within hours of a linear premiere.

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

She said Univision has TVE deals in place with all of the nation’s top 10 distributors, except for Comcast.

Comcast is also the only major affiliate that doesn’t carry the 40 million-subscriber Univision Deportes Network, which, starting on June 9 will become the 24/7 home of the World Cup, including simulcasts of 56 matches with flagship Univision broadcast network.

World Cup TVE promos will air during halftime and after matches. On-air personalities on weekday morning show Despierta América (Wake Up America) will be flagging the opportunity, as will on-air snipes. An FAQ section can also be found on Univsion’s website.

“We’ll have different messages for different platforms, all aimed toward getting the people excited about TVE,” Ball said.