News

History Channel Readies Spanish-Language Net

2/29/2004 7:00 PM Eastern

The History Channel has joined the crush of programmers launching cable networks targeting U.S. Hispanics.

History Channel in May plans to debut a Spanish-language network, The History Channel en Español, focused on world and Latin American history.

It won't simulcast the English-language channel. "We really think this is an important demographic, and to take a network out there and put a dub on it we don't think would be fair to this audience," said David Zagin, senior vice president of affiliate sales at A&E Television Networks. "Distributors have expressed a lot of interest in getting a strong brand like The History Channel available to the Hispanic marketplace."

There's been a flood of Latino-targeted domestic networks, in English and Spanish. English-language Sí TV just launched, and Voy, another anglophone channel, is slated to roll out this summer.

Zagin has just started to talk to distributors about The History Channel en Español. The Spanish-language service doesn't have any carriage deals yet.

Zagin wouldn't discuss specifics about license fees, aside from saying that The History Channel en Español is priced competitively with other Hispanic networks.

The new Spanish-language service will target families as well as men in Hispanic households, said A&E Networks director of digital programming Peter Tarshis.

"The History Channel tends to be male, there's no secret about that," Tarshis said. "We want to enfranchise families as well … We wanted specifically to target some areas that The History Channel wouldn't be interested in."

On Sundays, The History Channel en Español will offer a show on the mysteries of the Bible that "will be perfect for family viewing," Tarshis said.

The History Channel en Español's schedule will feature documentary specials and series, including Roots of America, a program packaged by The History Channel Latin America.

AETN has two pan-regional services: The History Channel Latin America and A&E Mundo, an entertainment network modeled after A&E Network. The Latin American service will be a big source of The History Channel en Español's programming.

The new channel won't have original long-form programming at this juncture, Tarshis said.

Zagin sees The History Channel en Español as possible Hispanic-tier programming and as a source of potential video-on-demand content — two offerings that can help drive digital cable into Latino households.

"We're optimistic we're going to make some of the Hispanic content available via video-on-demand," he said. "Certainly, it's going to be another added attraction to try to entice the Hispanic households to become subscribers. We think it's a real nice hot button."

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