Univision Takes Its Bilingual Video Platform to Mobile

Bigger than online audience

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Marketers have long preached about speaking to people “in their own language,” but normally only as a metaphor. Univision’s nascent UVideos, a Spanish-English digital video network, suggests brands should take that advice literally.

UVideos will go live via Xbox’s SmartGlass feature in May and for BlackBerry users during June—promising to further bolster what’s been an auspicious beginning for the six-month-old platform. The original programming channel has helped Univision grow its digital video revenue by roughly 100 percent, per the network, while Web and mobile video views have spiked by 156 percent.

Univision’s mobile network in particular includes its mobile website and mobile app and entails partner-based distribution via Samsung’s latest flat-screen TV and BluRay products, Kindle Fire, Xbox 360 and other connected devices. UVideos’ 4,000 hours of video programming can be accessed through those venues as well as the aforementioned upcoming nondesktop channels.

“Our audience overindexes significantly on mobile,” explained Kevin Conroy, Univision’s president of digital and enterprise development. “We’ve reached a point where our mobile audience is bigger than online. ”

Per Nielsen, 59 percent of U.S. cellphone owners 13 and up own a smartphone. For Hispanics, that number is 68 percent. And Hispanics spend 11 percent more time watching mobile video than the general population.

Are brands in tune with these realities? “Where most marketers have embraced online, they are not quite there yet with mobile,” Conroy answered.

More generally, UVideos has augmented Univision’s ability to sell video ad preroll, overlays and interstitials—often in conjunction with TV buys. Univision works with multi-screen video solution Mixpo, helping it attract AT&T, Toyota, JCPenney and Maybelline as advertisers. “UVideos has extended our audience reach beyond linear to include nonlinear,” Conroy added, “which also allows advertisers to increasingly buy cross-platform.”

Hispanic-focused Web video efforts haven’t always gone well. Consider TuTele, which briefly showed promise before shuttering last summer.

But, as Nielsen’s research showed, the eyeballs are there—so savvy marketers will continue to explore the Spanish-English video space. Next month, Universal Pictures will fly reporters for Clevver TeVe—the 18-month-old, Spanish-language YouTube channel from Alloy Digital—to London for the premiere of Fast & Furious 6. The movie’s marketers want Clevver TeVe’s clout among young Hispanics to drive them into theaters. The YouTube channel has accrued 154 million video views—roughly 35 percent coming via mobile.

“Mobile is definitely growing,” said Michael Palmer, svp at Alloy Digital and co-founder of Clevver Media. “The movie-premier access means [Universal] sees the market we are hitting."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.