Televisa-Univision Eyes Global Spanish-Language Streaming Market


Univision CEO Wade Davis and Alfonso de Angoitia, co-CEO of Televisa, discussed the reasoning behind merging their content and media assets in a conference call this morning, with the opportunities in the global Spanish-language streaming market a key priority for the company.

The deal creates “the leading global multiplatform Spanish-language media company,” said de Angoitia, who will serve as executive chairman of the board of the new company, Televisa-Univision. The deal has been in the works for almost a year, he noted. “Televisa and Univision have been partners for decades, and we have never enjoyed a better relationship than the one we have today. This transaction solidifies our commitment to becoming the premier global leader in Spanish-language media. We view this highly complementary combination as a major milestone for both of our companies as we enter a phase of accelerated growth and digital transformation.”

The merger was “always the ultimate goal,” de Angoitia explained. “This combination creates a larger and stronger company to compete in an exciting and challenging media landscape, increasingly defined by transformative technology and evolving consumer trends.”

The combined company will have the “scale and focus to deliver the most compelling content experience to Spanish-language consumers around the world.”

The content library of the merged company will house some 300,000 hours of programming, de Angoitia said, “the most powerful selection of Spanish-language IP and the largest portfolio of Spanish-language premium sports rights.”

In 2020 alone, Televisa produced more than 86,000 hours of content across all genres. “Televisa-Univision will leverage Univision’s leading traditional and digital platforms to distribute content throughout the company’s top-rated media portfolio.”

De Angoitia stressed Televisa-Univision’s “unmatched reach” across Spanish-language consumers worldwide, with an “enhanced ability to provide innovative streaming offerings across all major Spanish-speaking markets, with a total population of nearly 600 million people and aggregate GDP of around $7 trillion.”

There are four key strategic rationales to the transaction, de Angoitia said: the creation of compelling Spanish-language content, geographic expansion, a streaming strategy for future growth and an improved financial profile.

The Spanish-language opportunity has “historically been unattended by other global content producers, creating a massive white space opportunity for Televisa-Univision to take the pole position.”

The streaming opportunity is an imperative, de Angoitia explained. “We will have a differentiated global Spanish-language streaming product that reaches consumers around the world.”

Davis, who currently leads Univision, will serve as CEO of the combined company. He said the transaction presents a “transformative opportunity to reach Spanish speakers globally….. Launching a global streaming strategy to evolve our company was a key strategic rationale for this transaction. While the streaming marketplace is becoming more cluttered and competitive, we believe the Spanish-language market is underserved and is the last significant lane of the streaming opportunity. Televisa-Univision will be best positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.”

Davis said this view is shared by the new company’s investors, including SoftBank, Google and Raine, along with existing investor ForgeLight, which have “put $1 billion behind the belief that we can be the winner in global Spanish-language streaming.”

Spanish the second most spoken native language in the world, Davis said. “We believe the market for streaming services across just the top Spanish-language markets is worth billions of dollars and will continue to grow. In the U.S., Hispanics over-index on digital and mobile video consumption. Across Latin America, mobile video consumption is extremely high, with connected TV in the early stages of rollout and adoption expected to be explosive.”

The other streamers in the market are not “singularly focused on Spanish-language market,” Davis said, with a small fraction of their libraries consisting of Spanish-language originals.

The Televisa and Univision broadcast assets, each with a 60 percent or more share of their respective markets, “provide significant promotional vehicles to support the launch of a new streaming platform,” Davis said.

Davis pointed to the company’s expertise in streaming, referencing in particular Pierluigi Gazzolo, who joined Univision at the start of this year as president and chief transformation officer. At ViacomCBS, Gazzolo had been instrumental in the rollout of Pluto TV in Latin America. Davis himself helped drive Viacom’s entry into the AVOD space when he was EVP and CFO, overseeing the acquisition of Pluto TV. “In Latin America, Pluto TV was a pure startup, a clean sheet of paper. Pier launched the business in late 2019 and today it’s approaching 10 million monthly average uniques, and is about 40 percent larger than the next closest competitor in LatAm.”

Univision recently unveiled PrendeTV, which launched with “more Spanish-language content than anything else in the U.S.”

Further details of the merged company’s streaming strategy will be revealed in the company months, Davis said. “I feel very confident that we have the assets and the expertise to set us up with a huge competitive advantage to attack the last meaningful open lane in the world of streaming video.”

SoftBank, which led the $1 billion Series C investment round, traditionally invests in “digital-first” companies, said Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Group International. “What we’re seeing in Latin America and the U.S. is companies like Televisa and Univision moving aggressively to transform themselves to succeed in this new digital era.” The combination creates a “content powerhouse that can tap into the massive uncontested Spanish-language OTT market.”

Claure continued, “We have no doubt the new company will not only continue to win in the traditional business but also will create a leading OTT platform.” He noted that less than 10 percent of the Spanish-speaking population use an OTT product, compared to 70 percent of the English-speaking population. “The potential for growth is enormous.”