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The Spanish language television giant Univision is in the midst of significant change. Not six months into new ownership and a new CEO (former Viacom CFO Wade Davis), the company announced a larger merger with the Mexican TV giant Televisa and plans to go global in the streaming video space.
“Univision is in the middle of an interesting transformation, to become a much bigger and digital-friendly company, in terms of what we want to be. We have ambitions to be in other markets, and to create a whole new set of platforms,” Luis Silberwasser, president of the Univision Television networks Group, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Having said that, we also believe there is huge opportunity in what we call the Television Group.”
So, at its upfront presentation to advertisers, Univision will make it clear that it plans to continue investing in TV, with an emphasis on tentpole events and content that will get viewers to tune in live. “We believe in sports programming, we believe in news programming, we believe in scripted programming that is watched almost live… with a big percentage of live viewership,” Silberwasser says.
Among the tentpole events the company will announce Wednesday are the “TUDN Mega-Fest,” which will take place around the Liga MX “Campeón de Campeones” match weekend. Liga MX is the most-watched soccer league in the U.S., and the championship match is always a big TV event. Univision plans to surround the match with a live concert series, a gala wards show, and other pop culture, sports and event TV programming.
Univision will also announce UniVisionarios, (similar to CNN Heroes) a year-long platform that “honors Hispanic visionaries who have made impactful contributions to our community in the United States and worldwide,” the company says, spanning sports, music, food, arts, healthcare, politics, technology, and business.
“We believe in big, live, important programming events. Events that really touch the hearts of Hispanics,” Silberwasser says. “We are not just a general entertainment network, we have a connection to Hispanic consumers. we want to be their home, creating cultural events that bring Hispanics together.”
And, of course, the network will unveil a number of new scripted programs, and new and returning unscripted fare, programming that is “big in scale and live, but really touch Hispanic hearts, and become cultural moments,” Silberwasser says.
And while the completion of the merger with Televisa is a ways away, owing to regulatory approvals and due diligence, Silberwasser says it will ultimately bolster the company’s global content efforts.
“In many ways the programming we get from Televisa works extremely well in our marketplace, they are the largest producer of Spanish-language content,” he says. “This merger will take it to a deeper relationship and a deeper understanding, in order to create even better programming.”
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