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Univision se hace amigos con YouTube

November 16, 2009 |  3:16 pm

Univision Communications and Google's YouTube have cut a deal to put much of the Spanish broadcaster's content on the video website. If you're looking to catch up on the network's popular telenovelas there, though, you're out of luck.

Until now, Univision has encapsulated its content on the company's website, The move suggests the television broadcaster recognizes it needs to cast a wider net to draw viewers -- and to reel in more advertising revenue -- as audiences increasingly turn to the Web for news and entertainment. 

The network's most popular prime-time shows, the over-the-top telenovelas produced by Mexico's media colossus, Grupo Televisa, will not be included on the YouTube channel. To do that, Univision would have to negotiate terms with Televisa, and the two companies have had a contentious relationship. Shows that will be available on YouTube include "El Gordo y la Flaca" ("The Scoop and the Skinny") and the morning news show "Despierta America."

Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media, said that even without the Televisa shows, the Univision offerings would be significant. "Honestly, people will be very surprised and very excited by the amount and the quality" of the clips and shows on YouTube, he said. He added that the YouTube deal was noteworthy because it represents Univision's first foray into Internet syndication. He declined to say whether a deal with online video site Hulu was on the horizon.

The Univision content will begin appearing on YouTube early next year.

Neither Conroy nor YouTube would detail terms of their arrangement. Conroy did say that Univision would "keep the majority of the advertising revenue."

YouTube said the Univision pact was "one of the most comprehensive partnerships for full-length programming signed to date." That's because the major U.S. networks, including NBC, ABC, Fox and Viacom, have been cool to YouTube, preferring to control their content -- and the ad revenue that flows with it -- on their websites and on Hulu, which is owned by NBC Universal, Walt Disney and Fox parent company News Corp. Viacom, which owns MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central, went further and brought a copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube. That case is pending.

-- Meg James