ViX is the new umbrella brand for the global streaming businesses of TelevisaUnivision, the newly formed Spanish-language media powerhouse.

The company on Wednesday announced ViX as the name encompassing both its free, ad-supported streaming services — which launched last year in the U.S. as PrendeTV — as well as a forthcoming subscription offering, to be called (what else?) ViX Plus. Univision and Televisa completed their merger last month.

The two-tier ViX platform in its first year will host more than 50,000 hours of free and paid content, including live news (from Noticias Univision 24/7, Noticieros Televisa and others) and soccer matches — making it the biggest one-stop-shop for Spanish-language audiences in the world. The ad-supported video service, ViX, will officially launch on March 31, 2022 (after a short beta-testing period) followed by the ViX Plus subscription service, set to launch in the second half of 2022. Pricing details will be announced later.

“Nobody has gone out and super-served this market” of Spanish-speaking consumers, which number 600 million worldwide, Michael Cerdá, TelevisaUnivision’s executive VP of product and engineering for streaming, said in an interview. “When you do the research and talk to people, they want to see themselves reflected in a streaming service.”

For the upcoming ViX Plus service, TelevisaUnivision announced a two-year deal with Salma Hayek’s Ventanarosa Productions, which will produce Spanish-language films exclusively for the premium  streamer. The company has previously announced exclusive first-look deals with Eugenio Derbez and Ben Odell’s 3Pas Studios and Maria Dueñas, as well as deals with Mario Vargas Llosa, Santiago Limón and Propagate’s Ben Silverman, and Selena Gomez, who is producing an original docu-series for ViX Plus.

Other content coming to ViX Plus includes a reboot of horror series “La Hora Marcada,” co-productions with Dynamo and Mediacrest, and a multititle deal with the Mediapro Studio.

The company took the ViX name from the free, ad-supported Spanish-language streaming provider Univision acquired in February 2021. In addition to replacing PrendeTV, ViX will become the new name for Blim TV, Televisa’s streaming services in Mexico and Latin America. In addition, users of the existing ViX service will need to download new apps.

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Courtesy of TelevisaUnivision

ViX will be available on major platforms — including iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs — in 19 territories, including the U.S. and most of Spanish-speaking Latin America. Content on the service will include movies, family-oriented entertainment and international news. ViX Plus will feature more than 3,000 live and exclusive soccer games, including coverage of the sport’s top competitions.

The streamer has Televisa’s library of 300,000-plus hours to choose from and also will include licensed content from third parties, ViX general manager CEO Rafael Urbina said at the company’s virtual launch event.

Cerdá, who joined Univision last June after serving as Disney Plus’ VP of product, said the company selected ViX as the worldwide name after research showed it played well in the U.S., Mexico and Latin America. PrendeTV worked well in the U.S., where it means “turn on TV,” but the word “prende” has different connotations in other markets, he noted.

With the ViX name, “We wanted something that was an empty vessel we could put meaning into,” Cerdá said.

The ViX ad-supported service will feature about 100 channels and some 40,000 hours of on-demand content. In year one, the ViX Plus will have more than 10,000 hours of premium content, including more than 50 original TV shows and movies. The interface will feature a TV-like grid for people who “want to flip through the channels,” Cerdá said. For on-demand content, the app will present a menu with a hero image and rows to browse through titles.

TelevisaUnivision will make iterations to the ViX apps based on data that shows what users are responding to, Cerdá said. He hired about 150 staffers to rapidly build the code for ViX, which involved reimplementing the entire digital advertising stack.

“When you have six months to build a team and a product, there’s a whole bunch more we are going to get to,” Cerdá said, adding, “You try to not reinvent the wheel.” When the subscription VOD service debuts later this year, TelevisaUnivision plans to use an A/B testing framework to analyze and optimize customer flow and on-boarding.

Pierluigi Gazzolo, TelevisaUnivision president and chief transformation officer, said at the launch event that PrendeTV in the U.S. “served as a pilot” for the introduction of ViX services worldwide.

The AVOD tier will deliver a “broadcast-like experience,” and ViX Plus is “a premium paid experience, and our promise here is to deliver more original native content en Español… than any other streaming platform,” he said.