Televisa, hi5 team for online TV

Deal intended to boost audience for both

MEXICO CITY -- Televisa's online division and the social networking site hi5 have partnered to launch a Spanish-language video channel that aims to reach millions of Internet users throughout Latin America.

Under a commercial and distribution agreement announced Wednesday, the cost-free online channel will carry short- and full-length videos from the Televisa library, including the network's popular soaps, dramatic series and news programs. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Set to bow in the summer, the service will reach hi5 users across Latin America. San Francisco-based hi5 claims to be the leading social entertainment Web site across Spanish-speaking Latin America. Together, hi5 and Televisa Interactive Media, the Mexican media giant's online unit, reach about 33 million users in the region.

The service will not be available in the U.S. Hispanic market, where Televisa has a pending legal case against its stateside partner, Univision, over Internet rights. A court date is set this month.

As part of the agreement, Televisa will be the exclusive representative of hi5's online advertising in Latin America.

Hi5 founder Ramu Yalamanchi said Televisa's strong presence in the region will help maximize the social network's revenue potential in the Latin American market.
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