Univision Files for IPO

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Robyn Beck/ AFP/Getty Images
Robyn Beck/ AFP/Getty Images

Univision Holdings, Inc. has filed for an initial public offering of Class A common stock in the U.S.

The number of shares that will be offered as well as the price range for the offered shares has not yet been determined, but the proposed maximum offering size has been announced at $100 million.

The company, which owns the Spanish-language television networks Univision, Galavisión, UniMás, and the bilingual, millennial-focused Fusion, as well as Univision Radio Network, plans to list its shares on either the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ under the ticker, UVN.

Univision, who has exclusive long-term broadcast and digital rights to most of Grupo Televisa’s programing within the U.S., has also extended a broadcasting agreement with the company from its current expiration date of 2025 until “at least” 2030.

Under the new agreement, Televisa, one the company’s top investors, will hold about 22 percent of the voting rights of Univision’s common stock. Univision’s list of investors also includes Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and Saban Capital Group.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank Securities are among the underwriters of the IPO, Univision said recently in a filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission.

At this moment, Univision finds itself in a feud with Donald Trump, the presidential candidate and former business partner of Univision who depicted Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “drug-dealers” in a recent speech. Univision CEO Randy Falco cut ties with Trump in an effort to continue to “proudly serve as the voice of Hispanics.”

While other television networks are struggling to keep their audiences from switching over to online-TV streaming services, Univision’s financial state continues steadily. The company generated $2.9 billion in full-year fiscal 2014 revenue, an increase from $2.6 billion in 2013 and $2.4 billion in 2012.

Additionally, studies on Hispanic population growth report that these numbers could soar even higher. Currently, there are more than 57 million Hispanics in the U.S., comprising 17 percent of the U.S. population. By 2030, those numbers are expected to jump to 77 million and 22 percent, respectively.

Fusion News

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Fusion TV has laid off 30 full-time staffers, along with a restructure in programming. In 2016, Fusion will focus on three main areas of programming: U.S. presidential election coverage, investigative special reports and “topical comedy” programming. Fusion also announced a partnership this week with The Root, a leading African American news and commentary site where the two will co-produce TV content to air on the cable network.

Telemundo Launches Latino Comedy Network

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Here comes a spin on “Saturday Night Live” pitched at digitally hip Hispanic audiences.

“SNL” producer Broadway Video, together with NBCUniversal Telemundo, has launched Más Mejor, a comedy studio and network aimed at discovering new Latino talent and reaching a youthful, multicultural audience.

Más Mejor will create short-form sketch comedy content, in both English and Spanish, distributed across YouTube and social channels as well top Hispanic ad-focused sites. The free, ad-supported content will be hosted at masmejor.com, and also be featured on Telemundo’s digital channels, on its weekly TV sketch comedy show “Ya Era Hora con Erika y Eduardo” and video-on-demand outlets. In addition, Más Mejor clips will be distributed via deals with Popsugar Latina and Hispanic digital media firm Batanga Media.

“Hispanic comedy is an underserved area, especially in digital,” said Peter Blacker (pictured above), EVP of Digital Media & Emerging Business, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. “There’s not a lot of content focused on this market.”

The initial Más Mejor talent lineup of digital influencers, stand-up and sketch comedians, and producers includes: “SNL” alums Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz; Oscar Nuñez; Billy and Fernando Rovzar; Adriana Bello; Grace Parra; David Lopez; Dustin Ybarra; Carlos Alazraqui; and Melissa Villaseñor. In addition, Broadway Video and Telemundo plan to run a talent search, the winner of which will appear in a Más Mejor short airing on Telemundo properties.

“We really see the potential for social distribution with something like this,” said Rafael Urbina, chairman and CEO of Batanga Media, whose brands include Batanga.com, iMujer.com and Bolsademulher.com. “It’s something we feel our audience will respond to.”

Más Mejor’s launch sponsors include the Mexico Tourism Board. Down the line, Telemundo will seek to sell cross-platform advertising packages that span digital, TV and VOD, Blacker said.

Separately, NBCU has another digital-comedy iron in the fire: Last week it launched Seeso, a $4-per-month subscription VOD service stocked with “SNL” episodes, original series, stand-up performances and full seasons of previously aired TV comedies.

Why did the partners go the ad-supported route for Más Mejor? “The Hispanic comedy environment is far less mature” than mainstream comedy, Blacker said. “We are looking for new talent.”

In addition to branded and topical content — including “Trumpcestry.com,” lampooning Donald Trump’s disparaging comments about Hispanics and Muslims on the campaign trail — Más Mejor’s initial programming lineup will comprise several original series. Those include “Toy Collectors,” with Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz reprising their “SNL” characters as Cuban toy collectors; “Si, Pipi, Si,” with Oscar Nuñez (“The Office,” “Benched”) as a famous South American performer who comes to America to strike it big; and “Soccer Dads,” starting David Lopez as an aspiring soccer coach with an overconfident personality; and “Tiny Lady, Big Opinions,” with Grace Parra (“The Nightly Show”) weighing in on topical issues.

Más Mejor has been in the works for more than a year. “We waited a long time to do this, so we wanted to do it right,” Blacker said. When the Telemundo team first met with Broadway Video on the concept, according to Blacker, “we had one of those meetings where we were finishing each other’s sentences.”

Added Britta von Schoeler, president of Broadway Video Enterprises, “It’s gratifying to see the past several years of relationship-building in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market come to fruition with Más Mejor.”

The opportunity is ripe for Más Mejor because big media companies haven’t spent time or resources focusing on comedy content for Hispanics, Blacker said. “It’s a nuanced genre that requires a deep understanding of your audience,” he said. “Being funny is hard if you don’t know who you are trying to be funny for.”

CNN Unveils Documentary Series

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CNN en Español debuted Docufilms, a weekly documentary series, on June 21 with a look at the life of Argentine artist Carlos Gardel.

20150622 PG1B

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20150622 PG1A20150622 PG1DThe weekly Docufilms series will feature profiles and historical documentaries of prominent figures as well as global events. It will air Sundays at 8PM on CNN en Español.

In its debut episode, Docufilms showcased life of Gardel, a legendary singer, songwriter, composer, actor, and the most prominent figure in the history of tango.

The second show, entitled “A Journey with Fidel,” is an original documentary which include the story narrated by John Alpert, a New York journalist, who had the exclusivity to accompany Fidel Castro on his plane to the United Nations Conference in 1979.

Other profiles in the Docufilms lineup include “The 33”, about the rescue of the Chilean miners occurred in October 2010; “Neruda Passionate,” a look at the poet recognized with The Nobel Prize in Literature 1971; and “Oscar de la Renta,” showcasing the life of the fashion designer.

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