News

Univision Adds to HD Roster for FIFA Cup

5/11/2010 6:00 AM Eastern

Next month, Univision
Communications hopes to score
a high-definition hat trick.

The Spanish-leader media leader
in the U.S., which is presenting
all 64 matches from the 2010 FIFA
World Cup, will begin making Galavision
available in HD on June
1, 10 days before the competition
kicks off from South Africa.

The cable network joins the
Univision and TeleFutura networks,
as well as station groups,
in the enhanced format.

Tonia O’Connor, executive vice
president, distribution sales and
marketing at Univision Communications,
expects a number
of distributors will begin carrying
Galavision HD in front of the
World Cup. Both the standardand
high-definition versions of
the cable service will carry 27 encore
match performances from
the futbol quadrennial.

“Galavision HD is important to distributors,” O’Connor said. “We
feel confident it will gain broad
distribution.”

Historically, Latinos have
been early adopters of technology,
but there has been a dearth
of HD programming in Spanish.
“No one really has been incentivized
to upgrade,” O’Connor
said. “We think our products can
drive HD adoption for Hispanic
consumers.”

Univision and TeleFutura networks
and stations became available
in HD in December 2009.

To date, rollouts by cable operators
and telcos like Verizon
FiOS TV and AT&T U-verse have
come largely with stations in key
Latino markets, O’Connor said.
More than half of Univision’s 39
owned-and-operated stations
are now being distributed in HD.
The percentage is less among affiliate stations, which are playing
catch-up relative to bandwidth.
She expects HD launches across
the board to accelerate over the
next few weeks.

“There is a huge incentive for
distributors to launch HD with
the world’s most popular sporting
event,” she said.

In April, DirecTV became the
first video provider to begin distributing
Univision HD and Tele-
Futura HD nationally, as the top
DBS player continued its push toward
offering more than 160 HD
services. DirecTV said it would
soon be carrying the Univision
and TeleFutura local stations in
the enhanced format in top Hispanics
markets, prior to the start
of the World Cup.

In addition to the World Cup,
Univision and TeleFutura present
an array of movies and series
in the enhanced format. Relative
to the flagship, O’Connor said
nearly all of Univision’s primetime
slate is now transmitted in
HD. “We cycle through novellas
quickly and some of those productions
have not been filmed
in the format,” she said. “We
don’t envision much over the
next year that won’t be produced
in HD.”

O’Connor said the company
expects that local news programming
will be produced in HD on
Univision stations in New York,
Miami and Los Angeles by yearend.

Coming out of the gate, Galavision’s
initial HD programming
focus will be the encored World
Cup matches. More programming
will be delivered in the format
in the months thereafter,
O’Connor said.

Univision is complementing
the demand building for its product
in general and World Cup fare
in particular with an educational
initiative supporting its HD and
video-on-demand platforms under
the “Know Your Technology”
heading.

The program features plugs
from on-air talent, 30-second TV
and radio promos, contests and
other mechanisms.

“We plan to continue to deliver
educational and promotional
messages,” she said. “Those
are ever-green tools for our affiliates
to help them grow their business.”

September