Hispanic media giant Univision Communications is going over-the-top with the launch of Univision Now, a direct-to-consumer Internet video service priced at $5.99 per month.
Univision Now, the latest subscription-video play by TV programmers, provides live broadcasts of the Univision and UniMás networks with their respective full schedules of telenovelas, sports, news and award shows. It also offers on-demand access to primetime shows for up to seven days after on-air premiere, and replays of live programming for up to three days after linear air.
According to Univision, its audience leads in live TV viewing and also overindexes on smartphone usage and digital-video consumption — a perfect storm for an livestreaming-centered OTT service tailored to Spanish-speaking consumers.
“Providing access to our broadcast networks, Univision and UniMás, on mobile devices is critical to our mission to entertain, empower and inform,” said Tonia O’Connor, Univision’s president of content distribution and corporate business development. “Our goal is to serve all U.S. Hispanics.”
Univision Now is available on the web and via apps for Apple iOS and Google Android devices. The service provides a DVR-style “rewind” feature that provides replays of live programming for up to 72 hours.
Univision programming available on the service includes: telenovelas “Muchacha Italiana Viene a Casarse,” “Antes Muerta Que Lichita,” “Pasión y Poder” and “Yo No Creo en Los Hombres”; reality shows “La Banda” and “Nuestra Belleza Latina”; and award shows “Latin Grammy Awards,” “Premios Univision Deportes,” “Premio Lo Nuestro” and “Premios Juventud.”
The UniMás content in Univision Now includes live fútbol matches including Liga MX, the most-watched soccer league in the U.S., and Major League Soccer.
The company noted that some Univision and UniMás programming is not available through Univision Now; that includes rights restrictions on certain movies carried on UniMás. However, according to Univision, it has full digital-distribution rights for live soccer matches and other sports.
Univision Now also includes access to local newscasts in New York, Los Angeles and Houston for viewers in those markets. The company plans to roll out local news in additional major markets following launch.
Consumers can sign up for Univision Now at univisionnow.com for $5.99 monthly or $59.99 annually, after a free seven-day trial. The service is available only in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico).
Univision’s jump into OTT comes as pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. have been steadily declining, with media companies concerned about retaining viewers amid the shifting landscape. Other Internet-video services from traditional TV programmers — which cut out cable, satellite and telco TV distributors — include HBO Now, CBS All Access, Showtime, NBCUniversal’s Seeso and WWE Network.