Summary:

Hispanics, according to Nielsen, have the second-highest penetration of smartphone usage among U.S. ethnic groups, and today brings news of…

Univision Noticias
photo: Univision

Hispanics, according to Nielsen, have the second-highest penetration of smartphone usage among U.S. ethnic groups, and today brings news of a news app specifically targeting that demographic: Univision is launching its first news app, “Noticias Univision,” based on the broadcaster’s TV brand and website of the same name. It is also the latest example of a broadcaster tapping into the mobile market in a bid to extend its existing online and TV content businesses.

The ad-supported, free app is now available for iPhone/iPod and Android, with an iPad version in the works, says a spokesperson for Univision, and comes on the heels of a rush of other news apps announcements as publications and broadcasters gear up for the increased audiences that will be turning to news in the run-up to the U.S. (and Mexico) Presidential elections.

Other launches have included the Associated Press in content deals with newsreading apps Flipboard and Pulse.

For now it looks like “Noticias Univision” is launching only in the U.S. We have asked Univision about rollouts to other markets and will update this post as we learn more. A spokesperson confirms it is launching in the U.S. App Store, covering the U.S. and Puerto Rico only. We understand from a separate source that there are no plans for further international markets at this time.

Like its other apps — which include the eponymous Univision app, Deportes (sports), Cocina (cooking), and another dedicated to video — Univision looks like it intends to keep the app free, selling sponsorships to advertisers in lieu of charging readers. Units will include videos, banners and rich media ads. Univsion’s CEO is Randy Falco, the ex-ceo of AOL (NYSE: AOL), another major media brand that is banking on audience growth to drive advertising as the primary source of revenue.

Univision says that it has incorporated a few bells and whistles into this app that mark it apart from many other news apps — namely with social features. “Tu Opinion” is the company’s second-screen experience (a growing trend among broadcasters, as evidenced by UK broadcaster BSkyB’s investment in social TV startup Zeebox) with Twitter integration to interact with live shows and comment on the topics and stories of the moment.

To add to that, Univision says it will also be adding a citizen journalist feature to the app. With “Tu Camera”, viewers will be able to use their devices to record stories and submit them through the app to Univision Noticias.

Tu Camera could become especially relevant in future iterations of the app: Univision says later this month it plans to offer a location-based, more personalized option that gives users the ability to get local news and weather as well as user-generated content, in addition to the content created and supplied by Univision itself. That update should also include a feature to also share content via Facebook, in addition to the existing ability to use Twitter.

Figures out today from Nielsen note that Hispanics have the second-highest use of smartphones among ethnic groups in the U.S., with a penetration of 50 percent. Asians have the highest penetration at 60 percent; African Americans are at 48 percent and Whites have the lowest at 39 percent. Among all groups except Asians, Android is more popular than iPhone, say the researchers.

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