Comcast, which already upgraded 10 Spanish-language networks from a tier to digital basic in Miami as a means to boost advertising sales, is planning similar moves in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.
Phillip Woodie, director of multicultural sales at Comcast Spotlight, speaking at the sixth annual Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News Hispanic Television Summit here last week, said the networks were given broader penetration to match market needs and capitalize on expanded advertising opportunities.
“It’s great content and there has been tremendous success with ad sales,” said Woodie. “Agencies and clients get more to choose from. I think you’ll see us go there in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.”
After the panel, Woodie told MCN that the change was made in Miami, the nation’s third-largest Hispanic market, a year ago. On Oct. 1, 2007, Comcast Spotlight added MTV Tr3s, ESPN Deportes, CNN en Español, GolTV, Canal Sur, History Channel en español and WAPA-TV to Galavision, Mun2 and Fox Sports en Espanol as ad-insertable networks in the DMA.
By this point, Woodie anticipated the transition would have taken place in Houston and Chicago. However, circumstances and contract negotiations have intervened.
He said Houston, which Comcast secured from Time Warner Cable when the operators purchased Adelphia Communications, was a new market that had to be integrated into the company’s fold. Instead, corporate strategy called for the addition of more high-definition channels and building a bigger base of Spanish-language channels in the market.
In Chicago, license-fee renegotiations continue with the networks, which will see their penetration levels grow significantly in the nation’s third-largest DMA. In Miami, he said, it took about a year to get all of the new contracts in order before the switch was concluded.
“We’re pushing for it and the networks want it to happen,” said Woodie, who expects the upgrades to occur in 2009.
He also listed Sacramento; Fresno, Calif.; Denver; and Albuquerque as other DMAs that Comcast Spotlight is eyeing for Spanish-language channel repositioning.