Verizon's fiber network service makes big play for U.S. Hispanics

Verizon’s FiOS TV is touting itself as the biggest provider of Spanish-language TV in the U.S. after announcing the launch of 10 HD channels on Monday, but the question remains whether a critical mass of U.S. Hispanics will tune into the fiber-optic network TV service.

“As of the end of the first quarter, we had 4.4 million FiOS TV customers,” said Verizon spokesperson Heather Wilner. She would not specify how many viewers subscribe to its Spanish-language packages and bundled package La Conexion but said, “It’s fair to say that Verizon now has 20 or more Spanish-language channels than most of its competitors.”

Verizon has discovered that more than half of residents in the total FiOS footprint of 16.5 million homes and businesses speak Spanish or a combination of Spanish and English at home.

“According to the 2011 Hispanic Acculturation and Technology Segmentation Study, 87% of Hispanics surveyed say that it’s important that their children speak Spanish,” she added. “Having access to Spanish-language programming on TV is extremely important.”

FiOS TV and its programming providers are banking on a fast-growing, upwardly mobile Latino population to tap its offer of up to 75 HD Spanish-language channels on FiOS TV, including nine Ultra HDPlex channels from Olympusat, the leading distrib of Hispanic content in the U.S., and one from Mexican TV content provider, Multimedios.

Univision recently re-upped its multi-year carriage agreement with FiOS TV to include the launch of its three new networks, Univision Deportes (sports), tlnovelas (Latino soaps) and FOROtv (news), as well as rights for UVideos, Univision’s new video multiplatform, and on-demand programming.

Univision also inked a multi-year, multiplatform content pact with AT&T in May, which delivers Univision content across all AT&T platforms including U-verse TV (AT&T’s Internet protocol-based TV service), online, smartphones and tablets.

In related news, Univision has just unveiled the upcoming launch of UVideos on Xbox 360, the first U.S. Hispanic media company to do so.

UVideos will come as a bilingual application on Xbox 360 Live Gold in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The UVideos app on Xbox LIVE will include short and longform programming and catch-up video on demand.

Simmons NCS/NHCS reported that 36% of Hispanics own an Xbox. Meanwhile, 66% of Hispanics own a smartphone per the Nielsen Mobile Media Marketplace report released in the first quarter.

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