Hispanic media giant Univision Communications acquired VIX, an independent ad-supported streaming service with 20,000-plus hours of free Spanish-language film and TV programming. Univision said it plans to combine VIX with PrendeTV, its AVOD service set to launch sometime in the first quarter, in the U.S.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. VIX, based in Coral Gables, Fla., and previously known as Batanga Media, had raised $73.5 million in funding from investors including HarbourVest Partners, Tudor Investments and H.I.G. Capital, according to Crunchbase.
On a combined basis, PrendeTV and VIX will offer over 30,000 hours of content out of the gate to U.S. streaming audiences. Univision boasted that the acquisition of VIX will bring “immediate scale and momentum” to the forthcoming PrendeTV launch.
“VIX is the next key step towards Univision’s goal of building the most comprehensive ad supported streaming offering ever amassed for Latino audiences,” Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of Univision, said in a statement. “VIX’s team, content library and distribution capabilities throughout the Americas immediately positions PrendeTV to lead in free, premium Spanish-language video streaming for U.S. Hispanics and gives our advertising partners a new way to reach audiences at scale through a platform specifically designed for Hispanic consumers.”
In August 2019, VIX acquired Hispanic AVOD company Pongalo (formerly known as Latin Everywhere). Since then, VIX has grown to become one of the most downloaded entertainment apps on Android devices in Mexico and a top-ranking app in the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America on Roku. The AVOD service is available on more than 30 mobile and connected TV platforms, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.
In addition to content and distribution, VIX also brings to Univision a seasoned executive team led by VIX CEO Rafael Urbina, who will also serve as Univision’s GM and EVP of AVOD streaming. Urbina will report to Sameer Deen, Univision’s chief digital officer.
“Rafael’s expertise in the video streaming industry, deep knowledge of Latino audiences, and the entrepreneurial approach he has cultivated at VIX will be tremendous assets,” Deen said in a statement.
Urbina commented: “We built a digital streaming company with a commitment to deliver cultural relevance and best-in-class streaming capabilities to Latino audiences. Now we have the opportunity to realize that mission with the largest Spanish-language content company in the U.S., and I couldn’t be more excited about what we can achieve in concert with Univision’s scale and infrastructure.”
Houlihan Lokey served as financial adviser and Locke Lord served as legal counsel to VIX on the Univision deal.