TelevisaUnivision has ordered seven new projects, including the Gabriela de la Garza-starring “Las Vocales,” to debut on its paid premium streamer ViX+ later this year, Variety has learned exclusively.
The full list of newly set originals includes “Las Vocales” (The Vocals), “Atrapadas en Familia” (Trapped in a Family), “Quieres ser mi hijo?” (Do You Want to Be My Son?), “Promesas y Milagros” (Promises and Miracles), “Exorcismos” (Exorcisms), “La noche del diablito” (The Night of the Little Devil) and “La Sangre y la Gloria” (Blood and Glory).
These titles begin production in May and are set to premiere on Vix+, the upcoming paid tier of the ViX platform, later this year.
Here are the descriptions for each of the newly ordered projects:
Las Vocales (The Vocals, working title) – (Movie/Comedy). After a single mother manages to get her son accepted into one of the best schools in the country, she encounters a group of perfect mothers who are dedicated to making the newcomer’s lives impossible. Talent: Gabriela de la Garza (Cantinflas, Solteras, El fantástico Mundo de Juan Orol), Ruy Gaytán (Mi marido tiene más familia, Soltero con hijas) and Sofía Espinoza (Gloria, La niña de piedra).
Atrapadas en Familia (Our Family Marriage, working title) – (Movie/Comedy). Sofía and Carolina have decided to tie the knot,but when they gather their families to tell them the exciting news, they soon discover there are deep divides between both them and are left wondering whether getting married is the right decision. Talent: Ana Sofía Gatica (Sexo, pudor y lágrimas 2), Diana Bovio (Mirreyes contra Godínez, Solteras), Montserrat Marañón (La mexicana y el güero, María de todos los Ángeles), Pierre Louis (Chilangolandia, Él Hubiera si existe).
Quieres ser mi hijo? (Do You Want to Be My Son?) – (Movie / Romantic Comedy). Forty-something year old Lucía, after a fifteen year relationship comes to an end, starts over in the job of her dreams, To land the position she where she needs to lie, but pretty soon her double life forcers her to experience something unexpected, making her question what she really wants in life.
DOCUMENTARY / UNSCRIPTED SERIES
Promesas y Milagros (Promises and Miracles) – (Docuseries). Promises and Miracles is a docu-series exploring the promises made to immaterial beings when a miracle is granted through their intercession.
Exorcismos (Exorcisms) – (Docuseries). Through interviews and recreations, the series will follow people from all faiths who have faced off against malignant beings through exorcisms and those who are on the front lines of the battle between good and evil.
La Sangre y la Gloria (Blood and Glory) – (Docuseries). This series will chronicle the lives of star athletes who rose to fame but ultimately ended up the victims of a violent crime and the circumstances that ultimately led to the tragic outcome, by diving into the personal, family and historical context that made that tragedy possible.
La noche del diablito (The Night of the Little Devil) – (Unscripted). Series hosts travel around the city to share the culture of Mexico with their guests and learn about life, relationships, and sex – specifically how people connect with each other.
Variety spoke with Rodrigo Mazon, executive vice president and general manager of ViX+, about these freshly ordered streaming titles and TelevisaUnivision’s overall SVOD plans, including content strategy and investment, as well as the expected price and launch date for Vix+.
Do you have a price point set for ViX+ yet, and an official launch date beyond second half of 2022?
We will announce our price and official launch date soon. ViX+ will have thousands of hours of exclusive content, live sports, live news, and a homegrown innovative product that will be offered at an unbeatable price when we launch in the second half of 2022.
Among these seven new original titles going into production in May, are any of them planned as launch titles for ViX+?
We’re setting specific launch dates for every title. These seven titles will premiere within the first semester of launch, the second half of this year. And the over 50 original productions that we have announced will premiere on ViX+ in the first year of the service. At this moment, we have more than 25 projects in development. Thirteen of them are in pre-production and nine are in production, in addition to four others already going through post-production. So, there are dozens of original series and films coming that we’re working on right now.
How are you deciding what shows are best for the free ViX tier, and what is considered a “ViX+” brand title? What do you see as the difference between the two?
We know our audiences very well across Latin America and the U.S. for the U.S. Hispanic market. This gives us a unique ability to program in-culture and in-language and offer differentiated products from what you see across other streaming services.
We know our audience across the region is very interested in a free offering with a pleasant ad-supported experience, and that’s what we offer on our AVOD tier, ViX. We have over 100 streaming channels, more than 40,000 hours of on-demand content and live news and sports. It’s a very deep and broad offering of the best Spanish-language content. Many of that comes from our TelevisaUnivision libraries, exclusive to the service. So you’ll only be able to find it on our AVOD tier.
For ViX+, our premium subscription-based service (SVOD), we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into exclusive acquired content from around the world – what we believe to be the best in Spanish language across all genres and formats. So we’ll have films, documentaries, docuseries, drama series, telenovelas, pretty much every format. Then we’re going to be cutting across every genre because we know this service needs to be very broadly appealing to all of the different tastes, nationalities, and demographics across our region. From comedies and romcoms to thrillers, soaps, melodramas, horror, and more, in addition to acquisitions, we are investing an enormous budget into producing our very own content with ViX+ Originals. And that’s the over 50 originals that we’ve mentioned before. We also want that slate to be very diverse in genre and format, nationally, etc. For that reason, we’re investing heavily in having an extensive selection of the best in class Spanish-language content out there.
How much does ViX intend to spend on content in its first year?
Over the next few years, we have committed billions of dollars to invest in Spanish language content, again, both through acquisitions and original content. It is a very healthy budget, sufficient to allow us to make this truly an incremental offering to our traditional successful linear business. And that’s what it will be. Our CEO has said this is not some add-on but truly is an incremental offering to all of the incredible linear content that we will continue producing for the linear businesses. There are over 600 million
Spanish speakers worldwide, and as of now, only a fraction of the content that the current global streamers offer is originally produced in Spanish. Our ambition and aspiration is to appeal to all of them. For that, we have to be very aggressive in terms of the resources that we’re committing and the quality and production values that we want to put into each of these films, series, documentaries, and every other format out there.
What do you think the right balance of acquired content and originals is for both ViX and ViX+?
We are finding the right balance, building this largely on the backs of decades of incredible legacy content from the Televisa library, developing the best Spanish language content for almost 50 years, and then appealing to all of the Spanish-speaking audience with new original content. We believe that we have to be flexible and diverse in our offerings to do that. Whether we acquire and license content, produce it, or coproduce it, we’re open to getting to this content in any way, shape, or form as long as it is best in class and offers our subscribers a differentiated experience.
What do you think the biggest advantage is for ViX+ coming into a crowded market of SVOD options?
We have several advantages. The decades of Televisa as the leading Spanish-language producer globally give us the credibility, history, and IP to get into this business. Another incredibly unique advantage is that we are authentically a Hispanic company; we’re authentically a Spanish-language company. That allows us to understand our audiences, our AVOD users, our SVOD subscribers, and in the most unique way out there. We will speak to them authentically in culture because we know them the best. We are them. That is what truly differentiates us. We’re not trying to be everything in terms of a global streamer; we are positioning ourselves as the leading Spanish-language global streamer. We have a unique advantage when you put those two together, plus the incremental resources that we will benefit from and that our investors have committed to and have bought into this vision. We also have an opportunity to partner with the best creators and create some of the most appealing best in class Spanish language content.
Because of that history and because of the authenticity, another one of the advantages is our ability to connect with the Spanish-language, Latin American, and Hispanic content creative community. We have a unique ability to make their ideas and their visions a reality in terms of television or film. And because of who we are, we are positioned to build unique relationships with them that nobody else can. We’re betting big on our ability to attract the top talent, and we’ve already started appealing to them. Whether through first-look deals with Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek’s Ventanarosa, Maria Dueñas, and others is a testament to their trust in us and their belief that there is a unique space for a leading Spanish-language streamer. Then, of course, our sports offering will round out the service with not just the best in scripted and unscripted entertainment but with live sports. With live sports and live news, we have a very well-rounded service that should appeal to everybody in the household.