Univision Communications Inc.‘s La Fabrica UCI will create new Spanish and English-language content for the company’s digital platforms. La Fabrica UCI joins previous Univision digital ventures UVideos, Uforia, Flama, and Univision.com and will operate a network of producers, directors, and contributors throughout the U.S. and Latin America from production studios based in NYC and Miami. The division will create and acquire original video content for a series of new digital-first brands as well as Univision and UVideos. Boris Gartner will run La Fabrica UCI as VP and General Manager reporting to Univision News and Fusion president Isaac Lee and Univision Senior VP and General Manager, Digital, Mehul Negrani. La Fabrica UCI’s first long-form production, the 12-episode web series Medicina Desconocida (Strange Medicine), is available now on UVideos.com. Their “Variety Latino” partnership with Deadline sister site Variety launches February 27.
EXCLUSIVE: In a mid-six figure deal, Participant Media’s TV network Pivot is teaming with Univision to acquire Cesar’s Last Fast, the documentary about Cesar Chavez that will make its Sundance premiere tomorrow in the U.S. Feature Documentary category. The deal is the first major one after Participant and Univision last year formed a venture to acquire smart properties to air on both networks.
The film covers the 36-day fast undertaken by Cesar Chavez to bring attention around the world to the dangers of the liberal use of pesticides on farm workers, their families and communities. The 1988 fast, in which Chavez only consumed water, was captured on film by filmmakers James Chressanthis, Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee. It was one of the courageous acts that made Chavez an iconic advocate for farm workers.
Just more than two months to the day after broadcasters petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a denied injunction against the Barry Diller-backed streaming service, Aereo today responded with an unexpected battle cry of “bring it on”. “We have decided to not oppose the broadcasters’ petition for certiorari before the United States Supreme Court. While the law is clear and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and two different federal courts have ruled in favor of Aereo, broadcasters appear determined to keep litigating the same issues against Aereo in every jurisdiction that we enter”, said Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia today as the company filed a brief (read it here) with the Court. “We want this resolved on the merits rather than through a wasteful war of attrition”. Since Aereo’s 2011 launch, broadcasters have insisted in various jurisdictions and legal actions that the company is breaking the law by transmitting their shows to its Internet subscribers without paying a license fee. Today’s 31-page response and lack of objection to the broadcaster’s petition now raises the stakes to a winner-take-all proposition.
Interviews today with President Obama and controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio officially launched Fusion with a special edition of the new America With Jorge Ramos. Actually, Fusion kicked off three minutes beforehand at 3:57 PM PT with a hip swiveling music video featuring actors playing CEO Isaac Lee and other senior executives plus various real hosts from the network. Amidst the dancing around the office and cameos by Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, the Fusion employees lyrically proclaimed themselves “the corporate godchild of ABC-Disney and Univision” that will “offer world class reporting with a pop culture theme.” Still, the dance video aside, ABC and Univision’s Fusion was very traditional in its first hour for a joint venture aimed at young English-speaking Hispanics and millennials. The dance routine was followed with a more sober intro by Ramos promising to “challenge the people that make the news” and asking “Why is the government spying on us and foreign leaders?” Then Fusion went straight into a traditional cable news show with interviews, produced segments, talking heads and a taped interview with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Where do you set a sports talk show if you’re launching a pop-culture/satire network targeting young viewers? In a tricked-out suburban basement, silly! Fusion, the new ABC/Univision joint venture debuting Monday, announced this morning its new “outrageous” half hour of sport-talk mayhem, Sports Talkers, which the network promises, takes sports commentary to the next level. Set in what Fusion described as “tricked out suburban basement”, where three members of comedy troupe Harvard Sailing Team – Rebecca Delgado Smith, Adam Lustick, and Billy Scafuri – will combine elements of talk radio, late-night comedy, and improv performance to create what Fusion, continuing the Parents’ Basement motif, called a “a moth-balled quilt” that begins with sports and ends with “Talkers.” “This show will do for talking about sports what talking about sports has done for sports,” said David Javerbaum, the former EP and head writer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart who is overseeing content for Fusion’s nightly block of satire programming.
Showrunner is Geoff Haggerty, repped by Principato-Young Entertainment. Smith is repped by Principato-Young Entertainment, Paradigm, and attorney Melissa Fox. Lustick is repped by Black Box Management and Gersh. Scafuri is repped by Gersh. Showrunner Geoff Haggerty is repped by Principato-Young Entertainment.
Good Morning America will lend its ratings muscle to the October 28 launch of Fusion network, the news/pop culture/satire network from ABC and Univision. That morning, GMA’s Lara Spencer and Sam Champion will travel to Miami to appear live from the set of Univision’s morning infotainment show, Despierta America, joined by on-air talent from Fusion’s new morning infotainment program The Morning Show. Simultaneously, Karla Martinez and Raul Gonzalez of Despierta America will join the GMA team live in Times Square.
Time Warner Cable Reaches Distribution Deal With Univision That Includes El Rey Network And Local News
The agreement will make the No. 2 cable operator and Bright House Networks among the first distributors to have filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s English-language entertainment channel, El Rey Network, when it launches this year. “Time Warner Cable’s commitment to El Rey emboldens our ability to bring exciting, visceral and cinematic stories to young viewers across the U.S.” says Rodriguez. TWC EVP Melinda Witmer says that the channel “will provide our customers with a unique experience.” The pact for a broad suite of channels including Univision also includes what the companies call “a first-of-its-kind local news partnership to better serve Hispanic audiences in Los Angeles, New York and other shared markets.” The deal comes well ahead of the expiration of the parties’ existing agreement, they say. TWC will offer new networks including Univision Deportes, Univision tlNovelas and FOROtv along with UniMás, Galavisión, De Película, De Película Clásico, Bandamax, Ritmoson, Telehit and Distrito Comedia. There’s no mention of deal terms. But TWC will pick up out-of-home TV Everywhere streaming rights to content including Univision’s UVideos and Univision Deportes’ digital properties.
Fusion, ABC and Univision’s new network aimed at young English-speaking Hispanics in the U.S., has named veteran journalist Isaac Lee Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. In his new role, Lee will be responsible for all programming and business aspects of Fusion as he continues to serve as President of Univision News. Before joining Univision, Lee founded and served as editor-in-chief of English-language magazine PODER. Fusion launches nationwide on October 28; its digital platform will launch October 21.
Regulators voted today to consider a change in its media ownership rules in a way that has irked station owners, but cheered public interest activists. In a 2-to-1 vote, the FCC approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that might scrap a 30-year-old provision called the UHF discount. It relates to the law Congress passed in 2004 that bars a company from controlling stations that reach more than 39% of all households. For the purpose of that calculation, the discount requires the agency to just count half of the audience reached by UHF stations. The outlets used to transmit weaker signals than other stations on the VHF band, which included channels 2-to-13. That distinction became virtually meaningless after 2009 when stations replaced their analog signals with digital ones. So, a simple change? Nope. Broadcasters including Univision and ION feared that they might find themselves over the 39% cap — or so close that they couldn’t participate in the torrid deal market for TV stations. The FCC appears to have addressed their biggest concerns by grandfathering station groups that might find themselves above the cap, and those that applied to the FCC for approval of a deal before today’s vote. ”The Commission and the television industry have anticipated the elimination of this discount for well over a decade,” Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn says. “It is our task as regulators to ensure that our rules reflect current market realities.”
2ND UPDATE, 5:07 PM: Well, Univision got what it wanted from President Obama…sort of. Almost a week after the network and its marquee anchor Jorge Ramos took President Obama to task for omitting Spanish-language news divisions from his Syria whistle-stop network news tour, rival Telemundo said today it has landed an exclusive interview with Obama. The NBCUniversal-owned network is claiming its Obama’s “first interview to a Spanish-language television network since asking for congressional approval for a military strike against the Assad regime in Syria”. Excerpts of the sit-down, to be conducted by news anchor José Díaz-Balart, will be broadcast on Noticiero Telemundo on Tuesday at 6:30 PM ET. The interview, expected to focus on immigration reform, Obamacare, the latest on the Syrian crisis and other subjects of interest to the Hispanic community, will air in its entirety on Enfoque Con José Díaz-Balart on Sunday at noon.
UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 9 PM: Now the network itself has chimed in. Earlier today Univision’s Jorge Ramos posted some displeased tweets over not being one of the anchors interviewing Barack Obama about possible military action in Syria. Calling the lack of an interview “disappointing,” Univision has expanded on that view with the statement below.
What happens in Syria is important to Univision News’ audience. As the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. the decisions that are made by our government on issues like this one have a direct impact in their lives and their future. The U.S. Hispanic community has the right to be well informed and receive all the news and information they need from the news source they trust the most. It’s disappointing to see the lack of interest to reach our audience on this important issue.
Three senior executives at the Spanish-language networks company now will report directly to CEO Randy Falco following the news today that former president Cesar Conde has joined NBCUniversal as an EVP. President of Programming and Content Alberto Ciurana, News President Isaac Lee, and Univision Deportes President Juan Carlos Rodriguez moved up the organization chart. They “are largely responsible for the recent success and tremendous momentum of our Network business,” Falco says. The new structure “provides us with an opportunity to be even more nimble going forward.” The CEO thanked Conde for his “contributions to Univision over the last decade”. The release said he resigned to “pursue opportunities in English-language media”. NBCU’s assets include Telemundo, one of Univision’s top competitors.
NEW YORK – September 13, 2013 – NBCUniversal announced today that Cesar Conde will join the company as an Executive Vice President reporting to Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer, NBCUniversal. Conde comes to NBCUniversal from Univision, where he served as President since 2009.
In this newly created role, Conde will focus on business development, strategic priorities and special business projects across the NBCUniversal portfolio of assets. He also will oversee the International Group led by the newly appointed Chairman Kevin MacLellan. Conde will be a member of the NBCUniversal Executive Committee.
“Cesar is an impressive business executive with both traditional and emerging media expertise,” said Burke. “His experience leading multiple domestic and international businesses will be instrumental in maximizing all the opportunities to grow our portfolio.”
It was a face-off today between Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg on Telemundo‘s morning show Un Nuevo Dia and Matt Damon on Univision‘s Despierta America. Washington and Wahlberg promo’ed their new Universal pic 2 Guns on Un Nuevo Dia‘s sister Today with Savannah Guthrie. That was followed by an interview for Telemundo that was broadcast live on Un Nuevo Dia from the Today show plaza. At the same time, Matt Damon appeared on Univision’s Despierta America promoting Sony’s Elysium by participating in a live “guess that movie” game of charades with hosts. It’s a sign of the increasing competition among studios for the growing Latino market and the heated battle among Spanish-language TV broadcasters for that all-important morning space. Who fared better? Check out the videos: (beware auto play)
With television’s No. 1 network, CBS chief Les Moonves is one of the most confident-sounding execs in media. But Univision CEO Randy Falco sounded even more assured about his network’s popularity in a conference call with investors today. One asked whether he’s concerned that a pay TV operator might refuse to pay up to carry Univision’s Spanish-language stations after seeing CBS struggle to reach a deal with Time Warner Cable. “We have a different offering than CBS,” Falco says. “I’m sure they’re important to their viewers. But we are critically important…We have a closer tie to our Spanish-speaking audiences” than any English-language service has with its viewers. “Distributors agree with us.” The company underscored that by announcing that it has a retransmission agreement with Cox. That means it’s solid for now with six of the nine biggest pay TV distributors, which have agreed to carry Univision’s new networks. The exceptions are pretty significant, though: The company says it is still negotiating renewals with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter. Univision disclosed today that it generated $40.7M in net income in Q2, +28% vs the period last year, on revenues of $676.5M, +10.4%.
Univision will finish the July 2013 sweep ratings derby at No. 1 in both the 18-49 and 18-34 demographic groups, beating all of the English-language broadcast networks – a sweep first for the Spanish-language network. During the sweep, Univision is delivering an average audience of nearly 3.6 million total viewers, 1.8 million Adults 18-49, 874,000 Adults 18-34, and 1.1 million Persons 12-34 in primetime. Those stats also put Univision in first place for the sweep among 12-34 year olds — with a 30 percent lead over nearest competitor, Fox. While fourth placed among viewers of all ages (ahead of Fox), Univision leaps to the top of the pack with 18-49-ers, who are the currency of most scripted entertainment programming ad sales. In that age bracket, Univision will wrap the sweep 21 percent ahead of second place broadcaster, Fox.
Univision’s Los Angeles and New York stations are key to the win — the country’s No. 1 and 2 most watched in the country, respectively, during primetime among 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54, during the ratings derby.
Fueling those wins, Univision’s variety show Sabo Gigante (Giant Saturday) is up 16 percent in 18-49 year to year, and its highest rated primetime novella, Amores Verdaderos (True Love) outstrips first-run airings of many English-lanugage programs in key demos.
ABC and Univision‘s new network aimed at young English-speaking Hispanics in the U.S. has tapped Anhelo Reyes as its first VP Marketing. Based in Miami, she will oversee branding, marketing and promotion at Fusion, which is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2013. Reyes most recently as VP Strategic Property Planning and Marketing at Nickelodeon, where she worked on campaigns for such series as SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles. She also has worked at the Recording Academy and the National Association of Hispanic Publications.
Univision Announces Partnership With Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network; ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ TV Series Planned
Looks like Univision saved something extra for their upfront presentation today in NY. Promising “fun, fast-paced entertainment” Univision Networks president Cesar Conde announced that the company has a new partnership with El Rey Network, the upcoming English-language cable network from filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa’s FactoryMade. El Rey is set to launch at the end of the year via Comcast. Univision will be responsible for the back-office operations, sales and distribution of the network. “The El Rey Network is going to be the home of kick-ass entertainment,” said Rodriguez today onstage. The filmmaker said that the first shows from El Rey will be a TV version of his and Quentin Tarantino’s Dusk Till Dawn movie and an as yet unnamed action series developed by Fringe and Star Trek Into Darkness producers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci’s K/O Paper Products.
The network today also announced Va Por Ti, a new singing competition series for Sunday nights. Additionally, Conde said Univision will be showing the award show Premios TyNovelas that will cover Hispanic programming in both Mexico and the U.S. The show will air the same day in the States and Mexico.