Policy

Dish Inks Wide-Ranging Univision Pact

1/16/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

While Dish Network was extolling its company
relaunch on Jan. 9 at the Consumer Electronics Show
(see Cover Story), it was also expanding its position
within a community that has long been a business
strength — U.S. Latinos.

The No. 2 satellite-TV provider forged a far-reaching,
multiyear distribution deal with Univision Communications
that will key the initial launch of the U.S. Hispanic
market leader’s three new cable channels, as well as the
programmer’s fi rst steps into the TV Everywhere realm.

The pact, financial terms of which were not disclosed,
calls for Dish to launch Univision
Deportes, Univision Novelas and
Univision Noticias over the next few
months. Dish will also offer exclusive
access to Univision Deportes
Dos, a second sports network.

In addition to the new services,
authenticated Dish subscribers
will gain access to the
primetime lineups of Univision,
broadcast sibling TeleFutura and
cable cousin Galavision, while
the satellite giant is also receiving
thousands of hours of library content
that will become part of its
Blockbuster @Home service.

ALIGNED INTERESTS

“Our interests are aligned here,”
said Tonia O’Connor, president
of distribution, sales and marketing
at Univision. “Dish long has
been a big supporter of Hispanic
consumers. Both companies have
made significant investments in
this business, and we’re excited
that our content will be made more
widely available.”

Dish senior vice president of
programming Dave Shull said:
“We are pleased to have reached
an innovative deal with Univision for their newest channels
and their primetime novelas on demand. Dish is the
leading provider of Latino content in the United States.
This deal for exclusive linear and VOD content from Univision
provides our customers with the broadest selection
of top quality Spanish-language content.”

The agreement also includes renewals of Univision,
TeleFutura and Galavisión, plus the channel suite of De
Película, De Película Clásico, Bandamax, Ritmoson and
Telehit. Clásico TV has also gained a Dish berth through
the pact, which covers retransmission-consent extensions
for Univision owned-and-operated
stations.

O’Connor said the deal didn’t dawn
from the parties facing a year-end
retransmission-consent deadline, but
rather from Univision’s interest in opportunities
to grow its platform reach
and the satellite-TV provider looking to
“expand its footprint with a consumer
group that Dish has made a priority.”

Under the
new contract,
Univision will
make its initial
foray into the
TV Everywhere
arena, which has
become a point
of emphasis for
programmers
and distributors
alike as they
look to add value
to and sustain
the subscription
model that has
been the underpinning
of the multichannel video
industry against challenges
posed by over-the-top providers.

O’Connor said Univision,
which controls much of its content
in the U.S. via its exclusive
programming contract with Televisa
that covers all platforms, has
been very judicious in making its
fare available digitally. She noted,
though, that when it has made
product accessible on demand
and through Univision.com, Hispanic
consumers have displayed
a “great appetite” for it, and she anticipates a strong response
from Dish subscribers.

With this TV Everywhere gambit, authenticated Dish
customers will gain access to Univision, TeleFutura and
Galavision’s primetime lineups, sometime during the first
half of 2012.

That’s about the same time frame when Dish will be able
to begin integrating 4,000 hours of Univision library fare,
spanning novellas, series, kids programming and films,
into its Blockbuster @Home service, previously known
as Blockbuster Movie Pass. Blockbuster @Home provides
DVDs by mail and streaming video
over the Internet. The service is free
for 12 months to new Dish subscribers
and $10 per month for existing
customers.

“We want to make our programming
available all the time on
as many platforms as possible,”
O’Connor said.

As to the new cable networks,
Univision made its intention known
around its upfront presentation in
New York last May that it wanted to
secure carriage for the trio.

NETS READY TO ROLL

Targeted for a March 1 launch, Univision
Telenovelas will present a mix
of top recent and past favorites from
the genre, some of which have never
screened before in the United States.

Univision Noticias, bowing April 1,
will present the latest and most relevant
news from Mexico, Latin America
and around the world. Coverage will
extend to the top of the news, as well
as current affairs and the entertainment
realm. Like the novela network, Noticias will be positioned
on the Dish Latino package.

Conversely, Univision Deportes — like Univision, TeleFutura
and Galavision — will be situated in AT200, Dish’s second-
most broadly distributed level of service, starting on April
1, and will provide more than twice as many Mexican Primera
Division matches as any other U.S. network. During 2012,
it will be flanked exclusively on Dish by Univision Deportes
Dos, which O’Connor describes as a supplementary service
that will feature news, analysis and encores of the soccer
matches shown on the programmer’s primary sports channel.

“Dish didn’t have the same VOD infrastructure the cable
operators do, so we created that channel,” O’Connor
said. “They did a great job of marketing the channel, and
Dish customers liked the holistic, 360-degree experience.
Dish has so much invested in the Hispanic community,
this makes sense for them.”

O’Connor said Deportes Dos would be made available
to other providers beginning in 2013. Noting that the Dish
agreement could serve as a template in some respects,
O’Connor said, “We’re talking to everybody and expect to
sign other distribution pacts in 2012.”

October
November