Cable Nets Say: Viva 'Hispanic Month'

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The upcoming "Hispanic Heritage Month" has proven to be fertile promotional ground for a number of cable networks, who've contacted affiliates about initiatives designed to reap subscribers from among that burgeoning demographic.

Turner Broadcasting System Inc., A&E Television Networks and Discovery Networks U.S. all have significant Latino-oriented efforts planned for the Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 span.

"[Hispanic Heritage Month] is absolutely [our] most extensive [effort] yet, not only from a programming perspective, but also from an affiliate-marketing perspective," said Turner Network Sales senior vice president of marketing Coleman Breland.

Turner's key component, due in October, is the sequel to last spring's "Home Run" integrated subscription-and-upgrade campaign. The centerpiece of Home Run was TBS Superstation's new Spanish-language secondary audio program (SAP) feed, offered during Atlanta Braves baseball games.

SAP feeds from other AOL Time Warner Inc. networks — including HBO Latino, CNN en Español and Cartoon Network — were also included.

Last spring, TBS also began offering an SAP feed of the off-net sitcom Friends.

Fifty TBS affiliates participated in "Home Run," using bilingual direct mail pieces, on-air cross-channel promotion spots and radio commercials.

Turner will now employ a similar mix of tactics to highlight the SAP feed for the Superstation's fall National Collegiate Athletic Association football package, said Breland. "The fact that we're doing this twice [in one year] shows how important this market is," he said.

Spur from CTAM

TNS will again supply 25,000 bilingual direct-mail pieces per market, and will offer a 50 percent postage reimbursement to the first 50 affiliates that sign up. A second promotional spot, still in the script stage, is being added to last spring's.

TNS began receiving inquiries from affiliates during last month's Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing Summit in Boston, where a Turner executive had talked up Home Run's strong response rates, said Breland.

Turner is also urging operators to participate in its various ongoing grassroots efforts, such as Cartoon Network's "Cartoon Cartoons Hullabaloo" and CNN en Español appearances by such on-air talent as Ana Maria Montero.

For Hullabaloo, TNS provides a 45-minute reel of The Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo
and other cartoons for screening at local affiliate events geared toward at Latinos, as well as taggable promos, radio spots, ad slicks, postcards and posters.

And CNN Student News
offers its affiliates a customizable educational series titled Hispanic Heritage: Beyond the Numbers. Operators receive tie-in educational and marketing materials, including a classroom guide for teachers, Breland noted.

Meanwhile, Turner Classic Movies has slated local screenings of West Side Story, hosted by actress Rita Moreno, for three markets. AT&T Broadband will co-host screenings in Denver on Sept. 25, and in Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 27. Another screening is in the works for Los Angeles.

AETN'S INITIATIVE

A&E Television Networks is embarking on its first Hispanic Heritage month effort, said vice president of educational initiatives Libby O'Connell. Forty hours of related programming on all of AETN's services — some continuing through Oct. 18 —will be supported by taggable promo and local-ad-sales spots, as well as co-branded study guides and other materials available via download from the programmer's affiliate Web site, she said.

Eight documentaries will air in Spanish, mostly tied into A&E Network and History Channel's involvement with Cable in the Classroom.

"We're pleased with the affiliate response [to date], she said. "We get several faxes a day," not only from heavily Hispanic markets, but from other locales not readily identifiable as Latino population centers.

Mindful of subscriber growth among Hispanics, Discovery has also sent off a batch of marketing materials.

Discovery en Español's series Nuestra Herencia (Our Heritage)
will be touted by taggable Spanish and English tune-in spots, while two public-service announcements will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month itself.

The network also offers a bilingual consumer handout, as well as acquisition ad slicks and posters promoting Discovery en Español or digital cable in general.

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