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UniMas is an American Spanish language free-to-air television network that is owned by Univision Communications. The network’s programming, which is aimed at Hispanic Americans in the 18-34 age range, includes telenovelas and other serialized drama series, sports, sitcoms, reruns of imported series previously aired on parent network Univision, reality and variety series, and theatrically released feature films (primarily consisting of Spanish-dubbed versions of American movie releases).
The network is operated out of Univision’s South Florida headquarters in the Miami suburb of Doral, Florida. Since its launch, the network has made major inroads in overall and demographic viewership, eventually ranking as the second highest-rated Spanish-language television network in key dayparts, behind only sister network Univision, by 2012.
UniMás is available on cable and satellite television throughout most of the United States, with local stations in over 40 markets with large Hispanic and Latino populations. Most of these stations are pass-throughs for the network’s main programming feed, offering limited to no exclusive local programming. Univision Communications chief operating officer Randy Falco has overseen the network’s operations since his appointment in the position by the company on June 29, 2011.
On December 3, 2012, Univision Communications announced that it would relaunch TeleFutura as UniMás which loosely translates to “Univision Plus”, to underline its ties to its parent network Univision with a programming refocusing to appeal more towards Latino males between the ages of 12 and 35 years old.
The revamped network would feature Mexican and Colombian-imported programming from Televisa, Caracol Televisión and RTI Colombia (the latter two of which compete with RCN in the domestic Colombian market), which had maintained longstanding programming and production agreements with rival Telemundo, through contracts struck months before the relaunch, it would also increase its reliance on sports content for its weekend schedule.
UniMas network traces its origins to Barry Diller’s November 1995 acquisition of the Home Shopping Network and its broadcasting arm Silver King Communications, which owned television stations affiliated with HSN in several larger media markets.
In June 1998, the renamed USA Broadcasting (which had been merged into the Diller-owned USA Networks in 1997) launched a customized independent station format, “CityVision”, which infused syndicated programming including a few produced by sister production unit Studios USA that also aired nationally on USA Network with a limited amount of local entertainment and magazine programs (reminiscent of the format used by CITY-TV in Toronto and more prominently, its co-owned stations that became charter outlets of Citytv, when CHUM Limited expanded the format to other Canadian markets as a television system in 2002). USA’s Miami outlet, WYHS-TV, served as the test station for the format, disaffiliating from HSN and converting into a general entertainment outlet under the new call letters WAMI-TV.
By September 2000, USA Broadcasting had expanded the “CityVision” entertainment format to three of its thirteen other HSN outlets – with some of the stations adopting call letters referencing common nicknames for their home cities – WHOT-TV (now WUVG-DT) in Atlanta, KSTR-TV in Dallas–Fort Worth and WHUB-TV (now WUTF-DT) in Boston.
Before the group could carry out the proposed conversions of its other stations into independent stations, USA Networks announced that it would sell off its television station group in the summer of 2000, to focus on its cable network and television production properties.
Among the prospective buyers for the thirteen-station group were The Walt Disney Company (which would have created duopolies with ABC owned-and-operated stations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston) and Univision Communications (which would create duopolies with Univision owned-and-operated stations in those same four cities); the latter purchased the USA Broadcasting stations for $1.1 billion on December 7, 2000, with the sale being finalized on May 21, 2001.
UniMás sports through its association with Univision’s sports division, Univision Deportes (which is also responsible for the production of sports content on Galavisión and its dedicated cable-satellite sports channel Univision Deportes Network), UniMás broadcasts association football matches from Liga MX (which have aired since the network’s inception in January 2002) and Major League Soccer.
The network has also broadcast weekly boxing matches on most Fridays for much of its history; as TeleFutura, the network debuted a new weekly boxing showcase, Sólo boxeo, on April 30, 2010.
The network also served as a supplementary Spanish-language broadcaster of the FIFA Men’s and Women’s World Cups through Univision Communications’ exclusive contract with FIFA for the U.S. Spanish-language television rights to the tournament that concluded in 2014 (Telemundo and NBC Universo assumed the contract beginning with the 2015 Women’s World Cup).
As TeleFutura, it carried eight live games during the 2006 FIFA Women’s World Cup, all occurring during the last days of group play when multiple games are played simultaneously (in the same capacity that ESPN2 served for English-language rightsholder ESPN); the network also aired replays of tournament matches and World Cup recap shows.
In 2007, TeleFutura acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast weekly Major League Soccer games on Sunday afternoons; its relationship with the league expanded in 2012, when the network aired the MLS Cup, which was watched by 485,000 viewers (a 58% increase from the 2011 final and a 109% increase over the 2010 final, both of which aired on Galavisión).
Upon the rebrand to UniMás, the network increased its sports offerings with events such as soccer matches from the Mexico National Team and Liga MX, and the acquisition of rights to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and Copa América Centenario, along with the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
TeleFutura shows carried over to the relaunched UniMás included sports programs such as Solo Boxeo and the nightly sports news program Contacto Deportivo (which would eventually move to Univision after a twelve-year run on TeleFutura/UniMás on March 8, 2015).
On November 1, 2014, UniMás began airing rebroadcasts of the El Rey Network professional wrestling showcase Lucha Underground on Saturday afternoons. On May 3, 2015, the network debuted a weekly sports magazine program Zona NBA (“NBA Zone”), featuring news and interviews from around the National Basketball Association (NBA).
UniMás has 26 owned-and-operated stations, and current and pending affiliation agreements with 19 additional television stations encompassing 19 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Counting only conventional over-the-air affiliates, the network has a combined national reach of 46.54% of all households in the United States (or 145,419,291 Americans with at least one television set).
Despite Univision’s over-the-air expansion since its sister network launched as TeleFutura, UniMás has been slower in expanding its national coverage through broadcast television outlets and does not have over-the-air stations in several major markets with relatively sizeable populations of Hispanic and Latino residents where Univision and/or at least one of its competing Spanish language networks have broadcast affiliates, most notably Seattle, Washington; Kansas City, Missouri; Amarillo, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Midland, Texas.
Partly in order to fill these gaps, UniMás provides a national cable network feed that is distributed directly to cable, satellite and IPTV providers as an alternative method of distribution in markets without either the availability or the demand for a locally based owned-and-operated or affiliate station.
The network maintains affiliations with low-power stations in a few markets, such as Philadelphia (WFPA-CD), Bakersfield, California (KBTF-CD), Las Vegas (KELV-LD) and Palm Springs, California (KEVC-CD). In some markets, including both of those mentioned, these stations also maintain digital simulcasts on a subchannel of a co-owned/co-managed full-power television station. UniMás also maintains a handful of subchannel-only affiliations in a few markets, the largest by market size being WUVG-DT2 in Atlanta, Georgia, whose parent station operates as a Univision owned-and-operated station.
Currently, the Entravision Communications Corporation is the largest operator of UniMás stations in terms of both numerical total and overall market reach, owning or providing services to 20 UniMás-affiliated stations, including that are relayed on subchannel of full-power sister stations and two that the company operates under local marketing agreements with network parent Univision Communications (including stations in markets such as Boston (WUTF-DT) and Orlando (WOTF-DT)).
UniMás’ master feed is transmitted in 1080i high definition, the native resolution format for Univision Communications’ network television properties. However, twelve UniMás-affiliated stations all but one of which is owned by Entravision Communications currently transmit the network’s programming in 480i standard definition, either due to technical considerations for affiliates of other major networks that carry programming from another network in high definition on their main channel or because a primary feed UniMás affiliate has not yet upgraded their transmission equipment to allow content to be presented in HD.What was then TeleFutura launched its high definition simulcast feed at 12:02 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time on January 1, 2010, on its East and West Coast flagship stations in New York City and Los Angeles, WFUT/WFTY-DT and KFTR-DT (which, along with Univision, became the last two U.S. broadcast networks to begin offering their programming in HD).
Most of the network’s programming is presented in HD As of October 2015 (including most telenovelas; sports programs, including soccer events; newsmagazines; and most feature films, depending on the availability of high-definition “television” cuts of films) is broadcast by the network in high definition; exceptions exist with certain telenovelas, sitcoms and variety series as well as select children’s programs aired as part of the network’s weekend morning children’s block produced prior to 2008 that air in reruns, which continue to be presented in their native 4:3 standard definition format.
DirecTV began carrying the Eastern Time Zone feed of the HD simulcast nationwide on April 28, 2010; Dish Network subsequently added it two weeks later on May 12, 2010. TeleFutura’s HD format was also rebranded as UniMás HD on January 7, 2013.
UniMás, along with its sister channels, Univision, Galavisión, TUDN and Univision telenovelas were dropped by AT&T U-verse on March 4, 2016, due to a carriage dispute. This however, did not affect DirecTV customers, despite being a subsidiary of AT&T, as they were done on a separate deal. All of Univision’s channels (including UniMás) were later returned to the U-verse lineup on March 24, 2016.
On January 27, 2017, Charter Spectrum (along with Time Warner Cable and Bright House, the latter merged with Charter Communications on 2016) faced another dispute with Univision, warning Charter Communications that UniMas and its sister channels could be removed from Charter by January 31, 2017.
Prior to then, Univision sued Charter over pay carriage rates at the New York Supreme Court in July 2016. On, January 31, 2017, Charter customers lost access to all of Univision’s channels, including UniMás, and Galavision. On February 2, the New York Superior Court ordered Univision to end the blackout on Charter as negotiations continue.
This blackout affects all Univision affiliates, even if Univision doesn’t own them, so this dispute includes all stations owned by Entravision Communications, even if Entravision was not involved in the dispute.