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Univision unveils digital net, webnovelas

UVideos to make network's series available via multiple devices

Univision marked its further expansion into cyberspace with the unveiling of its UVideos Digital Network and three new webnovelas prior to its upfront presentation on Tuesday. Univision is also partnering with other companies to launch genre-specific broadband channels.

UVideos, a digital on-demand network, will make all of the net’s programs available on multiple devices including game consoles, smartphones, tablets and Internet-enabled TV sets. Now in Beta, digital channel will launch in the summer.

The webnovelas, produced exclusively for UVideos, will include an unprecedented joint production between Televisa and Univision Studios.

Thesp Kate del Castillo will star and make her directorial debut with two other webnovelas. “We pioneered these two years ago and found them to be popular with viewers and marketers,” said Univision Networks prexy Cesar Conde during a conference call with reporters on Friday.

Univision plans to unveil more than a dozen primetime programs at the upfront in New York including new telenovelas from Mexico’s Televisa, Univision’s main programming supplier.

“Telenovelas are the main reason why we beat NBC 195 nights last year,” Conde said.

Univision has launched three new 24-hour cable networks dedicated to sports, news and telenovelas. These are currently only on Dish Latino but talks are under way with major carriers to expand their distribution.

Announcements come just a few days after Univision and ABC confirmed plans to launch an English-language news, entertainment and lifestyle network and some key exec shuffles. These include the ankling of programming and promotions veep Ronald Day — who has not yet been replaced — and the tapping of former Televisa Sports Network exec Juan Carlos Rodriguez, who takes on a similar post as prexy of Univision Sports and will lead the division across all platforms. He replaces Alexander Brown, who ankled earlier this year.

Univision will also mark its 50th anniversary this year with the unveiling of an updated brand on Tuesday.

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