By Sahil Patel
DirecTV is close to launching an over-the-top video service exclusively catering to Hispanic consumers, according to the company’s CEO Mike White, who was speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference in New York on Friday.
White’s comments follow a couple of media reports that disclosed DirecTV’s plans for the service. On Thursday, Reuters reported a licensing deal between DirecTV and Univision under which the latter would provide programming for the over-the-top service. This followed a report by GigaOm, which revealed that the service would likely be called YaVeo.
YaVeo is expected to launch later in 2014.“We are looking to launch a Hispanic product later this year,” White said at the conference, though not confirming if YaVeo is indeed the name for the service. “You’ll hear about it in due time.”
It’s not clear yet how the service would function — whether it would be ad-supported and/or subscription based, or even if it would offer live linear channels or on-demand access to telenovelas and other Spanish-language content. In addition to Univision, DirecTV is talking to other Spanish media companies to supply content for the service, according to Reuters.
White’s comments come at the end of a week in which there was plenty of activity in the OTT space. Earlier in the week, Viacom agreed to license 22 of its TV channels to Sony’s upcoming internet-TV service. Then Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam revealed his company’s plans for a virtual TV service, which could also offer content from digital media companies like Awesomeness TV. This was followed by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves acknowledging the inevitable likelihood of taking HBO and Showtime directly to consumers on digital platforms.
DirecTV’s competitor, Dish Network, is also planning to launch an internet-TV service, with a slimmed-down package of cable channels from the likes of Disney and A+E Networks.
DirecTV’s desire to entire the “niche” OTT space has been public for a while, though, with White first mentioning his interest to Reuters last year. Once it goes live, the so-called YaVeo would compete, primarily, with DramaFever, an SVOD platform that has licensing deal with Univision competitor Telemundo.
The Hispanic-focused service would be the first in a series of niche services DirecTV White has said the satellite provider would launch in the future.
All of these efforts are underway to reach millennials and other demographics that are increasingly looking to cut the cord, or have never paid for TV.
DirecTV is in the process of being acquired by AT&T, which is also interested in the OTT space. Earlier this year, the telco giant partnered with The Chernin Group to launch Otter Media, a joint venture focused on acquiring and investing in over-the-top video companies.