Televisa Launches Netflix Rival

Spectre's Opening Scene - H 2015
Courtesy of Jonathan Olley/MGM/Columbia Pictures

The service offers first-run, exclusive SVOD programming in Latin America for the James Bond franchise, including an upcoming 'Spectre' release.

A new player has cracked Latin America's fast-growing SVOD market.

Mexican media giant Televisa on Monday launched Blim, an upstart OTT platform that will go head-to-head in Latin America with industry leader Netflix and Mexican-owned streamer ClaroVideo.

Blim's subscription model and price are similar to that of Netflix's, but with about 20 percent of Blim's catalog consisting of Hollywood fare, the content is more Latin American-centric than the streaming giant.

"Televisa is the biggest producer and distributor of Spanish-language content in the world," said Blim chief Carlos Sandoval, "and this is one more piece of the puzzle to reach viewers."

As of now, the service is available only in Latin America.

Like Netflix and ClaroVideo, Blim will offer original productions on an exclusive basis. Televisa, which works with Univision and Lionsgate stateside, produces film and television content for both Mexico and the U.S. Hispanic market.

Netflix has an estimated 8 million subscribers throughout Latin America and has produced several successful series in the region, including Pablo Escobar drama Narcos and soccer dramedy El Club de Cuervos.

ClaroVideo, a division of telecom giant America Movil, also is producing original content for its clients.

Among Blim's other offerings, it holds exclusive first-run SVOD rights to James Bond films and to various U.S. series, such as Wayward Pines. The latest Bond movie Spectre, part of which was shot in Mexico City, will have its Latin American SVOD premiere in May on Blim.

Blim also will tap into Televisa's vast television library (which includes its popular telenovelas) and films released by the media firm's film distribution arm Videocine. Televisa-produced programming currently available on competitors' platforms will eventually be offered strictly on Blim.

According to a market research report by Dataxis, Latin America's top seven markets will have some 20 million OTT subscribers by 2018.

During a visit to Mexico in 2014, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Latin America is one of the world's fastest growth areas in terms of Internet connectivity.