February 22, 2018 / 3:31 PM / 24 days ago

Mexico's Televisa to create content for Amazon Prime

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican broadcaster Televisa said on Thursday that it plans to start producing original content to be distributed on Amazon.com Inc’s platform, underscoring streaming services’ increasing efforts to woo Latin American audiences.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of broadcaster Televisa is pictured at a truck in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 16, 2017. Picture taken November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

Televisa, the largest producer of Spanish-language TV content, said it has struck a multiseries agreement to create “premium programming with an emphasis on multicultural characters” for Amazon Prime Video, an on-demand video streaming service available in more than 200 countries and territories.

The tie-up addresses strategic priorities for both companies: Televisa’s desire to expand its distribution and Amazon’s push to deepen its presence in Latin America, where Prime Video is available in markets from Mexico to Argentina.

Netflix Inc, which has also made the region a priority, has already invested in original programming in Spanish and Portuguese with shows such as Mexican soccer drama “Club de Cuervos.”

“It makes a lot of sense for these companies to try to make content that is more relatable to the audiences in Latin America, rather than expecting that content can travel across countries freely,” said analyst Carlos de Legarreta of GBM. “Sometimes it can, but not always.”

A spokesman for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Analysts say the Amazon deal marks a new strategy for Televisa, which has pledged to invest more in content as it adapts to the changing media landscape. In 2016, Televisa’s license for some content with Netflix lapsed as it launched its own streaming service, blim.

“They were trying to foster their own platform,” de Legarreta said. “The trouble with this is that they lack the scale that players like Netflix and Amazon have.”

Televisa said it will produce programming from an “original content” division with presences in Los Angeles and Mexico City.

The broadcaster will eventually bring the programming to free and cable networks in Mexico as well as the United States through Univision, the U.S.-based Spanish-language network. Televisa has a large stake in Univision.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The partnership is expected to help Amazon as it seeks to improve its position in Mexico and Latin America more broadly.

The tech giant has invested heavily in Mexico, leasing a 1 million square-foot warehouse near Mexico City and promoting its Prime delivery service. Amazon is also eyeing a large warehouse in Brazil, Reuters reported.

Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Paul Simao, Christian Plumb and Jonathan Oatis

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