Univision teams with Netflix, announces new slate of programming

Looks like Netflix is chilling with Univision.

Univision announced Tuesday it was getting into business with the streaming giant with two rare programming deals.

The first season of Netflix drama “Narcos,” which chronicles the life of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, will air on Univision leading up to the second season that will run only on Netflix. Meanwhile, the Spanish-language series “Club de Cuervos,” another Netflix property, will air on Univision’s youth-skewing network UniMas.

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Netflix and Univision also will coproduce a series about Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. It will air in the U.S. on UniMas in 2017, before becoming available to Netflix subscribers. It will premiere on Netflix in other markets.

The announcements were made during Univision’s presentation to advertisers at the Lyric Theatre in New York. The deals underscore the value Netflix sees in courting Latino audiences and showcases Univision’s status among Spanish-speaking Latinos.

“Netflix knows that Hispanics are their growth consumers,” Chief Marketing Officer Jessica Rodriguez told the crowd.

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said separately in a statement: “Promoting these original shows on Univision is a great way to further reach Hispanic audiences and help them discover Netflix.”

Univision spent the bulk of its 90-minute presentation, which included appearances by news personality Jorge Ramos and a performance by the first group formed out of Simon Cowell’s singing competition series “La Banda,” touting its reach and scale among Latinos.

At a time when networks are grappling with shifting viewing habits and advertisers are worried their commercials are not being viewed in real time, Univision still attracts a large percentage of live viewing (92%).

And it promised the upcoming additions to its programming slate would further deepen its relationship to its audience.

Its sports cable network Univision Deportes is launching Sabada Futolero, which will present six hours of soccer programming every Saturday.

On the music side, changes are coming to the second season of the flagship network’s “La Banda,” including the addition of female contestants and more viewer participation.

The company is also looking to better mine the regional Mexican music genre that is popular with young Latinos. The company is adding talent competition “Cancion de Mujer” (which seeks to discover the next great female singer in the regional Mexican music genre. There will also be a biopic series, “Su Verdadero Nombre Era Dolores,” about Mexican singer Jenni Rivera.

As for its bread and butter, telenovelas, Univision said it has 15 new productions from Televisa in the pipeline for the upcoming season that reflect the tastes of young, bilingual Latinos, who prefer darker, shorter stories. Its dramas will include “Mujeres de Negro” (The Women in Black), “Tres Veces Ana” (The Three Anas), and “El Principe” (The Principle).

Televisa is a minority owner in Univision and plans to retain its stake once the media company begins its offering its shares in the public market. Univision has delayed its long-planned IPO because of volatility in the media sector.