Hulu launches Latino service with Spanish-language programming
Hoping to attract a rapidly growing U.S. Latino audience, online video site Hulu has launched a Spanish-language programming service with popular shows from networks Univision, Estrella TV and Azteca America.
Until now, Spanish-language programming has been scattered across different Internet sites. And some of the most popular programs, including the spicy telenovelas produced by Grupo Televisa of Mexico, were not available online in the U.S.
Hulu -- which has ramped up its offerings this year -- saw an opportunity.
"The demographics of the U.S. Latino audience are very interesting to us, and until now there was so little Spanish-language content available online in an aggregated form," said Andy Forssell, senior vice president of content at Hulu, based in Santa Monica.
The U.S. Latino population is the nation's fastest growing demographic group. The median age of the Latino audience also is younger than that of the general market, which has helped to attract blue-chip advertisers who prefer younger viewers.
The Hulu Latino service is being sponsored by five Hulu advertisers: Corona, Modelo, Toyota, Pantene, and Volkswagen of America.
Advertisers and Hulu, owned by media companies Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBCUniversal, are particularly interested in reaching bilingual viewers who watch programming in English and Spanish. They believe a large percentage of that audience can be found online.
Hulu has spent the last few months negotiating agreements with 11 Spanish-language content partners, including Univision, the largest Spanish-language media company in the U.S., and other Latin American media companies.
Spanish-language programming will be available on the free Hulu site and through the Hulu Plus subscription service. Hulu Plus will offer hundreds of hours of current and classic shows, including entire seasons of the enormously popular telenovelas, including those produced by Televisa, Venevision and RCTV of Venezuela.
Much of Univision's programming has been slow to arrive online because the company did not have the online rights to the popular telenovelas produced by Televisa until late last year. Two months ago, Univision announced its arrangement to provide its programming to Hulu.
The Hulu Latino service launched Tuesday. Users of the free Hulu service will have access to several episodes of current season programming, including recent episodes of such Univision shows as telenovela "La Fuerza del Destino" (The Power of Destiny), newsmagazine "Aqui y Ahora" (Here and Now) and late night talk show "Noche de Perros" (Guys' Night Out).
Hulu has rolled out several new offerings this year, including a service in Japan in September. It also has been working to bolster its library with foreign programming including Japanese anime, Korean dramas, and British television programs, including "Misfits" and "Mongrels."
-- Meg James
Photo: Actors from "La Fuerza del Destino," which airs on Univision in the U.S. Credit: Univision Communications