Univision has become the latest broadcaster to bypass the pay-TV industry's TV Everywhere campaign and go directly to consumers with a subscription streaming platform.
Univision Now will be available on iOS and Android smartphones.
For $5.99 a month, or $59.99 for a year-long commitment, customers can get live streaming access to Spanish-language networks Univision and UniMás, plus a limited selection of on-demand content, under the Univision Now brand.
The action creates a major OTT player from a broadcaster that's influential with the growing -- and younger skewing -- American Latino audience.
"Consumers have come to accept that they can access their favorite content anywhere," said Tonia O'Connor, president of content distribution and corporate business development at Univision, in a statement. "We have not been able to deliver on that with our over-the-air viewers because we had committed to TV Everywhere. This is all about focusing on our over-the-air viewers and providing them access to the content they already enjoy."
Univision Now will be viewable on iOS and Android devices, as well as directly online. It will offer on-demand viewing of primetime programming for seven days after initial airing. Pause/rewind/fast-forward DVR capability will be enabled in the first three days after initial program viewing.
Viewers in New York, Los Angeles and Houston will also be able to watch live local news feeds.
Univision's announcement of a direct-to-consumer streaming service follows the launch 13 months ago of CBS' SVOD platform, CBS All Access. And last month, Comcast's NBCUniversal unit launched Seeso, an SVOD service themed around comedy.
All of these services come from broadcasters that are working to get more money from pay-TV operators through increases in broadcast retransmission fees. They also arrive as the pay-TV industry tries to maintain momentum for its long-struggling TV Everywhere initiative, which requires customers to have a pay-TV subscription in order to stream content.
Univision Now's launch comes at a critical time for Univision. The broadcaster said in July it would go public, but it hasn't been able to consummate its IPO because of what the Wall Street Journal said is "skittishness among media investors."
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