Univision Communications has launched a new U.S.-based production facility, Univision Studios, which could affect the way music is selected and used in its original series and other programs, including soap operas. The studios will produce and co produce soap operas, reality shows, series, entertainment formats and other programming for Univision’s many platforms, including its three television networks: Univision, Telefutura and Galavision, as well as univision.com.

The studios will be based in Miami and will be run by Luis Fernández, who has been named president of Univision Studios and will report to new Univision Networks president Cesar Conde.

Univision already produces 4,000 hours of original programming a year, but this move signals the network's clear intent to begin producing more original content in earnest, particularly soap operas, which are its highest rated shows but are all produced by Televisa in Mexico. The agreement between Univision and Televisa has been fraught with problems in recent years, with Televisa suing Univision for breach of contract. The companies settled this past January, and their programming agreement will continue through 2017.

Although its certainly too soon to speculate on the effect the new Univision Studios could have on artists and labels, soap operas have long been a major and preferred form of promoting Latin music, but typically, musical decisions - including what songs to use as soap opera themes - are in Mexico. If series and soap opera production begins to happen here, it could change the tenor of negotiations to include music in Univision soaps.

Univision's competitor, Telemundo, already has Telemundo Studios, a production structure that oversees Telemudno production centers in Miami, Los Angeles and Colombia, where the network has acquired a 40% stake in a production company owned with RTI, a major soap opera producer. Telemundo/RTI productions include "Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso" and "El Zorro." One of Telemundo's current soap operas, "Más Sabe el Diablo," produced in Miami by Telemundo Studios, features actor Jencarlos Canela, who debuted as a singer and whose album came in at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart last month.

Univision Studios president Fernández comes with broad production and broadcasting experience. Hewas formerly president of Corporación Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) a leading broadcasting company in Spain. Prior to that, he was managing director of production company Promofilm U.S. and has also served as executive producer of several feature films, including "Un Dia Sin Mexicanos" (A Day Without Mexicans).