Univision Taps Avail-TVN to Enable it to Offer All 64 World Cup Soccer Games On-Demand

--Games Will Be Available on Univision's VOD Service 24 Hours after Live Broadcast

VOD distribution services provider, Avail-TVN, said Monday that it has been selected by Unvision as the US-based Spanish-language broadcaster's VOD services partner for international soccer's quadrennial flagship event, the FIFA World Cup (takes place June 11th-July 11th).

Under an industry-wide agreement, Avail-TVN says, it will provide Univision with a wide array of "live-to-VOD" services, including broadcast signal acquisition and file capture, Nielsen C3 watermark verification, encoding across multiple codecs, asset management, and distribution of both SD and HD versions of all 64 World Cup games. In participating systems, the company promises, digital subscribers will be able to access any game via VOD 24 hours after it airs. This represents the first time that all the games from a World Cup tournament have been available via VOD, according to Avail-TVN, which points out that demand for Univision's on-demand coverage of the tournament is likely to be high: the 2006 World Cup is estimated to have had a cumulative global viewership of 26.3 billion.

The deal also calls for Avail-TVN to provide Univision with marketing support, including menu mapping, barker support and other services designed to enable easier content discovery. "High-value sporting events, like the World Cup, with a global audience and enormous consumer interest across all time zones, are a natural fit for Avail-TVN's on-demand platform," Avail-TVN's chief revenue officer, Jim Riley, said in a prepared statement. "Univision's ambitious World Cup offering is unprecedented and it allows soccer fans to catch all the exciting action on their own schedule, 24-hours after the actual game. We are thrilled to have been chosen to support Univision's marquee tournament coverage."

Last week (see the article published on itvt.com, May 12th), Univision announced plans to offer free, live, online streaming coverage of all 64 World Cup games.