Univision is entering the streaming wars.
The Spanish-language broadcaster on Tuesday announced it’s preparing to launch a free, ad-supported streaming platform called PrendeTV. Billed as the first such service built exclusively for Hispanic audiences in the United States, it’s set to debut in the first quarter of the year.
“PrendeTV is an important, early step in Univision’s broader efforts to build the same leadership position we have in Spanish-language TV, in the emerging Spanish-language streaming space,” said Univision CEO Wade Davis. “The announcement of PrendeTV within two weeks of closing our acquisition of Univision underscores our focus and commitment to rapidly driving the transformation and growth of the company. PrendeTV is unlike anything our audience has access to today and will completely change the landscape for video streaming in Spanish-language media in the United States.”
Davis became CEO of Univision in late December under a deal in which an investor group led by Davis’ ForceLight and private equity firm Searchlight Capital acquired a 64 percent stake in the company. Mexico’s Televisa owns the other 36 percent.
PrendeTV takes its name from a Spanish word meaning “turn on” or “switch on.” The service will launch with some 10,000 hours of Spanish-language programming, including novelas, comedies, global TV series, sports and feature films.
“With the launch of PrendeTV we are focused on bringing new ways for our advertisers to reach the U.S. Hispanic audience and, importantly, PrendeTV will be a critical part of our strategy to grow the scope of our business partnerships with our key distributors,” said Davis.
The service will be available online at Prende.tv and via mobile and connected TV apps. Distribution partners will be announced later. Univision says the service will feature channel-based and on demand programming, with limited commercial breaks within programs.