DirecTV is moving ahead with its plans to launch an online video service: The satellite TV operator has been working on launching a new service that caters to a Latino audience, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the company’s plans. Originally slated to launch earlier this summer, it now looks as if the company is getting ready to unveil the service soon. A recent trademark application indicates that it will be called YaVeo, which translates to “Now I see.”
DirecTV CEO Mike White first mentioned that his company was interested in launching niche online services in an interview with Reuters late last year. At the time, White mentioned that a Spanish-language service could be an opportunity for DirecTV, but also added that it was too early to announce any details. However, by that time, development of the new service was already well under way, including partnerships with technology providers, according to sources.
In February, DirecTV posted a job offer further describing the service, which reads in part:
DIRECTV is building a new organization focused on streaming media services (Over – The – Top Content or OTT). That will revolutionize entertainment landscape by providing more content that will be available on more screens than ever. DIRECTV is at the epicenter of that change. With a 20 million household reach, DIRECTV is a driving force in defining the next generation of multi-screen entertainment. As our Sr. Manager for our Hispanic Digital Video Services (OTT), you will play a key role in our Revenue and Marketing organization that will launch and manage these new OTT subscription and transactional video products delivered over the internet to TVs, PCs and mobile devices to subscribers everywhere.
It’s unclear what exactly the service is going to look like; options range from a Netflix-style subscription for Telenovelas and other Spanish-language content to the live-streaming of linear channels similar to what Dish has been offering with its Dishworld streaming service. Reuters reported Thursday that Univision has agreed to supply content to the service, but didn’t specify whether this will include Univision’s linear channels or just access to its on-demand content.
I’ve been told that DirecTV originally planned to launch the service earlier this summer, but recent activity suggests that the company is now getting close to unveiling it. Earlier this month, DirecTV applied for a trademark for YaVeo, and the application included the following services description:
Broadcasting programs via global computer network; video-on-demand television transmission services; streaming of audio and video content via the Internet, other computer networks, wireless networks and electronic communication networks; Distribution of television programs for others; television programming; programming on a global computer network
Of course, there is always a possibility that DirecTV could change course last minute and use a different brand, or scrap plans for the service altogether. A DirecTV spokesperson declined to comment on specifics, and instead sent me the following statement:
As Mike White has publicly stated in the past we’re looking into OTT options that target niche markets, but we do not have any details to share at the moment.
However, going after a Spanish-language audience makes a lot of sense for DirecTV. Not only is the size of this audience growing as part of demographic shifts in the U.S., Latinos also watch 90 minutes more online video per month than the average U.S. consumer, according to a recent Nielsen report.
Focusing on Spanish-language content will also help DirecTV avoid directly competing with either Netflix or traditional TV services, both of which can be very expensive. That’s why other big operators, including Comcast and AT&T, are increasingly looking to niche programming for their online efforts as well. Earlier this year, AT&T announced that it is going to acquire DirecTV for $48.5 billion. DirecTV’s Latino video service could be a good complement to AT&T’s own niche video plans, should the acquisition be approved by regulators.
Check this out on GIGAOM.