Hispanic TV Summit: Operators en Español

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Several operators have been beefing up their Hispanic packages over the past year, with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, RCN and others all reporting significant growth in the amount of the Spanish- and English-language content available to Hispanic customers.

The following is a rundown of the Hispanic offerings of the top 15 pay TV providers. Channel counts and pricing may vary from system to system. The list also highlights the least expensive, entry-level packages, many of which can be combined with other tiers or much-larger lineups of digital and pay TV channels.

Comcast

Basic subscribers: 23.9 million
Digital subscribers: 17.5 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 15.3 million
Phone subscribers: 7.0 million
Contacts: Derek Harrar, senior vice president and general manager of video services; Diana Kerekes, vice president of video content; David Jensen, vice president of international programming; Kim Taylor, senior director of video and multicultural marketing; Mauro Panzera, senior director of multicultural marketing; Radame Rodriquez, director of Spanish-language content acquisition, (215) 665-1700.
Hispanic packages: “CableLatino” (around 25 Spanish-language channels, limited basic channels, music channels, a digital set-top box and video-on-demand in Spanish for $20 to $30, with typical pricing around $25). MSO has signed deals with about 80 programmers. Systems customize local lineups to reflect their demographics. A variety of more-expensive packages are available, with larger lineups of 50 to 60 Spanish-language channels offered in all-digital systems.
Spanish VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers more than 300 free Spanish-language VOD choices at any time, in addition to dual English/Spanish audio feeds on select films; has an extensive Comcast Latino Spanish-language portal, in partnership with Terra.com; offers a number of bundles specifically for Hispanic subscribers; and has launched special international calling plans, including “Mexico 100” for $4.95, “Latin America 100” for $9.95 and “Worldwide 300” for $14.99.
Major Hispanic markets: Passes more than 4 million Hispanic subscribers, serving such large Hispanic DMAs as Miami; Houston; Chicago; Boston; San Francisco; Denver; Atlanta; Philadelphia; and Albuquerque, N.M.
Recent and future moves: Comcast, which was the first cable operator to devote significant resources to the Hispanic market, rolled out lower-cost Hispanic tiers in 2003 and has since revamped offerings and beefed up both linear-channels and free Spanish-language VOD. In the last year, the MSO has dramatically increased its Spanish-language VOD content to about 300 choices, up from 100 a year ago, and continues to add linear channels, most recently adding TuTv’s five channels and Mexicanal to some of its systems. As part of an aggressive analog reclamation effort to free up bandwidth, Comcast has launched the larger “Nuevo CableLatino” package with 50 to 60 Spanish-language channels priced at $24.99 in Boston and $29.99 in Chicago, and has plans to soon make that package available to some additional markets, primarily on the West Coast. Bundles specifically targeted to Hispanics have been available since October 2006 and during the last year, Comcast has also beefed up the long-distance calling plans listed above.

DirecTV

Subscribers: 18.3 million
Contact: John de Armas, vice president, WorldDirect, DirecTV, (212) 205-0500
Hispanic packages: Lowest priced offering is “Óptimo Más” (more than 50 Spanish-language channels, local broadcasters, secondary audio programming feeds and English-language channels for a total of over 150 channels for $44.99; currently promoted at $29.99 for first year.)
Spanish VOD, HSI and bundles: Spanish-language on-demand content includes Spanish-language versions of new release titles, Bloomberg On Demand, PBS Kids Sprout, Nickelodeon and MTV Tr3s on demand; bundled packages are sold with telco partners around the country, including Qwest Communications International, AT&T and Verizon Communications.
Major Hispanic markets: Has a national footprint; offers local broadcasters, including Spanish broadcasters in many markets.
Recent and future moves: In 2007, the company relaunched its Hispanic offering “DirecTV Más” with a new name and revamped channel lineup. The package now includes seven exclusive channels and programming from every Spanish-speaking country in Latin America, as well as Spain. DirecTV has been aggressively using such celebrities as Oscar de la Hoya and Andres Garcia to promote the service and in 2008 was a top-five advertiser in U.S. Spanish-language media. Besides the current discounts for Óptimo Más, DirecTV is running promotions for its other packages: “Óptimo Más plus DVR” (150 English and Spanish channels and the DVR service for $34.99 for the first 12 months); “Más Ultra” (170 channels in English and Spanish for $39.99 for the first 12 months); and “Lo Máximo” (more than 275 channels and all premium-movie channels for $59.99 for the first five months.) In terms of new programming, the satellite provider continues to look for high-quality, exclusive Spanish-language content.

Dish Network

Subscribers: 13.6 million
Hispanic packages: Entry-level packages include “DishMéxico” (more than 20 Spanish-language channels, six Latin music services, English-language channels and local broadcasters for a total of more than 55 services for $19.95) and “DishLatino Clásico” (more than 32 Spanish-language services, local broadcast stations, six Latin music services and English-language channels for a total of more than 105 services, regularly priced at $29.99 and currently available for $19.99 to new customers for the first 12 months). A variety of other tiers with more Spanish and English channels also are available.
Contact: Ruben Mendiola, general manager of programming for DishLatino (ruben.mendiola@dishnetwork.com), (303) 723-1194; Jose Romero, manager of marketing for DishLatino, (jose.romero@echostar.com), (720) 514-6164.
Spanish VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers Spanish-language movies and television shows to subscribers who have set-top boxes capable of getting on-demand content; telco partners bundle Dish’s video packages with their phone and digital-subscriber-line offerings; has extensive Spanish-language pages for its online DishLatino offers.
Major Hispanic markets: National footprint; offers local broadcast stations in most markets.
Recent and future moves: Satellite-TV company Dish was the first provider to seriously target the Hispanic market, viewing the effort as a way to distinguish itself from DirecTV and cable. Despite increased competition, it remains the market leader. Over the last year, the satellite provider has continued to add new channels to its various Hispanic packages, including such services as Bandamax, CBeebies, Pasiones and TeleAmazonas and is planning to add more Spanish-language services this year. In November of 2008, it launched a new entry-level package, DishMéxico, and is currently offering $10 off its other Hispanic tiers, promoting “DishLatino Plus” (more than 110 Spanish and English services) at the discounted price of $24.99 for the first 12 months; “DishLatino Dos” (for more than 200 channels) for $32.99; and “DishLatino Max” (more than 230 channels) for $42.99 in the first year. In February of 2009 it also began including local broadcasters in the price of its Hispanic packages and has been adding Spanish language VOD to its offerings.

Time Warner Cable

Basic subscribers: 13.0 million
Digital subscribers: 8.8 million
High-speed data subscribers: 9.0 million
Voice subscribers: 4.1 million
Contact: William Ortiz, senior director of corporate target marketing, (212)-364-8372
Hispanic packages: Offers several packages, but the lead one is “El Paquetazo” (more than 50 Spanish-language channels, over 100 English-language channels, a digital box and access to VOD for $37.95 in Los Angeles).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Hispanic offerings include Spanish-language movies, kids’ fare and other programming; broadband service has extensive Spanish-language pages; offers triple-play packages that are marketed to Hispanics; its “International OnePrice” calling plan offers 1,000 free minutes to more than 100 countries, including many in Latin America, for $19.95.
Major Hispanic markets: New York, New Jersey, San Diego, Los Angeles and other Southern California operations; Texas; and the Carolinas. Overall, it serves DMAs where 47% of all U.S. Hispanics reside.
Recent and future moves: The New York system rolled out a low-cost “DTV en Español” entry-level package in early 2003. In the summer of 2005, TWC launched a rebranded “Nuestra Tele” package, which was subsequently launched in divisions that serve its largest Hispanic markets. Lineups, pricing and brands vary by system but its main Hispanic package is now El Paquetazo. First launched in 2008 in Los Angeles, with a greatly expanded number of Spanish and English channels, the El Paquetazo was launched in May of 2009 in New York systems with around 40 Spanish-language services and over 80 English language channels for $34.95. In September, El Paquetazo will launch in Texas, making it available in the MSO’s top three Hispanic markets. Besides the larger channel lineup in El Paquetazo, the MSO is planning to add more Spanish-language VOD by the end of the year. In its marketing efforts, which won a number of awards over the last year, the operator has paid particularly close attention to marketing bundled services. More than half of new Hispanic customers take a bundle.

Cox Communications

Basic subscribers: More than 5 million
Digital subscribers: More than 3 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 4 million
Phone subscribers: 2.5 million
Contact: Tony Maldonado, vice president of acquisition and marketing and sciences
Hispanic packages: “Paquete Latino” (up to 35 Spanish-language networks and 10 to 15 channels of English-language local broadcast stations and basic services for about $28 to $34), designed so local systems can customize the lineup and pricing.
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Cox Digital Cable offers Paquete Latino subscribers a variety of English and Spanish-language movies, music and other TV programming. Atlanta-based Cox also offers a variety of bundles and calling plans, including the “Simply Worldwide” plan for $1.99 a month that has low rates to 14 Latin American countries.
Major Hispanic markets: Include Arizona, Southern California and Las Vegas.
Recent and future moves: As part of a completely revamped Hispanic strategy, Cox launched the Paquete Latino package and a Spanish-language Web site in 2004. As a result of its Hispanic push, the MSO’s Hispanic customers now make up a higher proportion of its customers than they do of the general population, with bundled services proving to be particularly attractive — more than 67% of Cox’s Hispanic customers now take two or more services. While the MSO has no immediate plans to add more linear Spanish-language services, it increased the amount of Spanish-language on demand programming by about 50% in the last year and plans to add significantly more VOD content over the next year. As part of a greater focus on multilingual Hispanics, the MSO will add more English-language services to Paquete Latino and will pay more attention to multilingual Hispanics in its overall marketing.

Charter Communications

Basic subscribers: 4.9 million
Digital subscribers: 3.2 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 3.0 million
Phone subscribers: 1.5 million
Contact: Pattie Eliason, senior director of marketing, (626) 430-3568
Hispanic packages: “Charter Latino” (digital box, access to VOD where available, local broadcast channels and as many as 24 Spanish-language networks for $29.99).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and Bundles: Some Spanish VOD content, as well as secondary audio feeds for pay-per-view; Spanish-language Web site charterlatino.com; offers a wide variety of general-market bundles and has a long-distance calling plan that gives subscribers 250 minutes to over 100 countries for an additional $20.
Major Hispanic markets: Los Angeles; Ft. Worth, Texas; Reno, Nev.; and other markets with rapidly-growing Hispanic communities.
Recent and future plans: In August 2004, St. Louis-based Charter began the soft launch of a low-cost Charter Latino tier in some markets, and since then has added more Spanish-language programming as it rolled out Charter Latino in its main Hispanic markets. In 2009, it hired an ad agency to help develop branded messaging for the Hispanic community; marketing efforts use a variety of media, direct mail and local events and sponsorships to target Hispanics, with bundles an important focus.

Cablevision Systems

Basic subscribers: 3.1 million
Digital subscribers: 2.9 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 2.5 million
Phone Subscribers: 2 million
Contact: James Moore, director of international video product management, (516) 803-4417, Jmoore5@cablevision.com
Hispanic Packages: “iO en Español” (over 35 Spanish-language channels, and a free Spanish-language VOD service starting at $6.95 a month for subscribers to Family Cable, which varies in price but costs $49.95 in some parts of the footprint; iO en Español package costs $14.95 a month when purchased with broadcast basic tier, which in many communities results in a total entry-level package of under $30.)
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: More than 20 hours of Spanish-language VOD programming a month; has a Spanish-language Web portal for its “Optimum Online” Internet service (www.optimum.net/latino); markets a variety of bundles for video, Internet and phone; offers flat-rate plans for unlimited local and long-distance calling within the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada; also offers “Optimum Voice World Call,” which offers up to 250 minutes of calling anywhere in the world, including up to 30 minutes of calls to Cuba, for $19.95.
Major Hispanic markets: Greater New York City area, including parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, New Jersey and Long Island.
Recent and future plans: The Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO expanded the availability of iO en Español, along with other international services, to its entire footprint in 2006. In 2007, it added a number of new Hispanic-targeted networks, including VeneMovies, V-me, Telemicro, Ecuavisa Internacional, Caracol TV Internacional, WAPA America, and Latelenovela Network. In January 2008, it added Dominican View and in 2009, the operator launched Telemundo HD.

Verizon FiOS TV

Basic video subscribers: 2.5 million
High-speed data subscribers: 9.1 million
Mobile: 87.7 million retail customers
Phone subscribers: 34.3 million U.S. wireline access lines
Contact: Bill Binford, Verizon Communications director of programming, (212) 406-6706
Hispanic packages: “Spanish-Language Package” (27 Spanish-language channels, including Univision and Galavision, for $11.99 per month.) The more popular option is “La Conexión” (including 25 Spanish-language channels, over 35 English-language channels and local broadcasters for a total of over 140 channels for $39.99).
Spanish VOD, HSD and bundles: Offers a variety of Spanish-language VOD movies and television programming; La Conexión and the Spanish-Language Package can be bundled with Verizon’s other services.
Major Hispanic markets: New York, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, California and other markets.
Recent and future moves: Hispanic markets have always been an important part of the New York-based telco’s strategy and FiOS TV has offered large Hispanic offerings since launch. After concentrating on rolling out its services and building penetration, it has beefed up its Hispanic marketing and in the last year has added two Spanish-language channels to its Spanish-Language Package.

Bright House Networks

Total customers: 2.4 million
Contact: N/A
Hispanic packages: “Nuestros Canales” (up to 19 Spanish-language channels and five Latino music services for $2.99 to $3.99, in addition to the digital package of over 300 channels that includes local broadcasters).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: “Español Movies on Demand” and “International Movies on Demand” include both free and pay-per-view Spanish-language content; Tampa Bay, Fla., and Central Florida divisions offer “Lo Mejor On Demand,” with more than 50 hours of programming from Univision, Galavision and Telefutura; “Road Runner en Español” high-speed data service offered on most systems has extensive Spanish-language pages for Hispanic customers; Hispanic-targeted “Mi Mexico” and “Latin American Call Plans” offered by the Tampa Bay Division.
Major Hispanic markets: Florida
Recent and future moves: In recent years, the MSO has added Spanish-language channels and VOD content and plans to add more in the fall of 2009. Lo Mejor on Demand — already available in Tampa — was launched in Central Florida in July of 2009. In September, the Central Florida division launched Nosotros on Demand, including content from ESPN Deportes, CNN en Español, Fox Sports en Español and WAPA America, as well as informational and educational fare. Bright House continues to offer local news channels Central Florida News 13 en Español and Central Florida News 13 en Español On Demand.

AT&T U-verse TV

Basic video subscribers: 1.6 million U-verse TV customers; 3.8 million total video customers from both U-verse TV and satellite-TV partnerships.
High-speed Internet subscribers: 16.9 million
Voice: 52.4 million switched-access lines.
Contacts: Dan York, executive vice president content and programming, AT&T Converged Services; Rob Thun, senior vice president of content; Emma Bracket, director of content, (210) 821-4105.
Hispanic programming packages: All U-verse TV customers have access to “Paquete Español” (22 Spanish-language channels featuring Spanish-language novelas, movies, news, sports, children’s programming, talk shows, etc. for $15 a month on top of any U-verse TV programming tier); also offers “U200 Latino” (includes the 22 channels in Paquete Español, plus local broadcast channels and a wide array of English-language channels; more than 250 total channels for $74).
Spanish VOD, high-speed internet and bundles: The “U-verse On Demand” library with thousands of hours of free and paid On Demand titles includes a robust selection of original Spanish movies, children’s programs and events and Spanish versions of popular new releases; offers a variety of bundles, as well as low-cost international calling plans.
Major Hispanic markets: Los Angeles; Houston; Dallas-Fort Worth; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose; Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.; San Diego; Chicago; Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Detroit-Ann Arbor, Mich., and Atlanta, as well as such recently launched markets as El Paso and Corpus Christi, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Monterey-Salinas, Calif.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Odessa-Midland, Texas; and Charlotte, N.C.
Recent and future moves: To better meet the demands of the bilingual Hispanic market, AT&T in 2009 introduced U200 Latino, offering a much wider array of English-language channels. U200 Latino is currently included as one of the options in its “Buy Two, Get One Free” offer, which allows customers who bundle U200 Latino with either AT&T Mobility wireless service (“Nation 450” or above) or U-verse Voice Unlimited to receive U-verse High Speed Internet Pro free for six months, a $30-per-month discount. The telco has also beefed up its Spanish-language VOD as part of an overall expansion of its on-demand offerings and looks to add more Spanish-language HDTV programming as it becomes available. AT&T has also offered several promotions for Paquete Español this year and currently is offering new U-verse TV customers one free month of Paquete Español.

Mediacom Communications

Basic subscribers: 1.3 million
Digital subscribers: 658,000
High-speed Internet subscribers: 754,000
Phone subscribers: 267,000
Contact: Italia Commisso Weinand, senior vice president of programming and human resources, (845) 695-2600
Hispanic packages: “Canales” (generally includes 12 Spanish-language channels for $5.95 on digital systems); customers must pay for an analog package (which often includes some Hispanic broadcasters) and the digital box in addition to the Canales tiers.
Spanish VOD, HSI and bundles: None to date.
Major Hispanic markets: Nogales, Ariz., is the largest, plus a number of relatively small Hispanic communities.
Recent and future moves: In late April of this year, Mediacom added, De Película, De Película Classico, Bandamax, Telehit, V-Me, Mexicanal, EWTN Español, and Sorpresa to the Hispanic lineup in Nogales, Ariz., its largest Hispanic market. It continues to look for relevant content that could be added to the package.

Suddenlink Communications

Basic subscribers: 1.3 million
Contact: Mary Meier, senior vice president of marketing, (314) 965-2020
Hispanic packages: “Conexión Única” (includes over 30 Spanish-language channels for $21, in the West Texas markets; it is priced at $29.99 or $37.95 with HBO in most of the other markets).
Spanish VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers some Spanish VOD; has offered some bundles with high-speed Internet and video targeting Hispanics; has inexpensive international calling rates.
Major Hispanic markets: Texas is the largest; Conexión Única is now offered in 47 markets, including areas in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma and North Carolina that have rapidly growing Hispanic communities.
Recent and future moves: The company’s footprint includes some major Hispanic markets, particularly in Texas where it is the No. 3 operator. In summer of 2006, it rebranded the Hispanic package as Conexión Única and has since launched campaigns on Spanish-language radio and TV to promote Conexion Unica and other offerings. This year, the MSO introduced VOD in more territories and is planning to add more Spanish-language VOD in markets where that makes sense. It also continues to expand the number of HD channels and boost speeds of its most popular high-speed Internet offerings.

Insight COMMUNICATIONS

Basic subscribers: 720,100
Digital subscribers: 483,400
High-speed Internet subscribers: 481,500
Phone subscribers: 306,200
Contacts: Melani Griffith, senior vice president of programming and video services, (917) 286-2300; Jennifer Lescott, director, programming and video services, (917) 286-2300
Hispanic package: “Insight Para Tí” (average of 25 channels, five English-language and 20 Spanish-language, for $10 per month).
Hispanic VOD, HSi and bundles: Carries over 70 hours of Hispanic-targeted content on demand.
Major Hispanic markets: Serves some fast-growing Hispanic markets, such as Lexington, Ky., but generally operates in communities with relatively small Hispanic populations.
Recent and future moves: Over the last year, the MSO has boosted the total Hispanic VOD offering to more than 70 hours, with content from such programmers as MTV Tr3s, Sprout, and FearNet.

Cable One

Basic subscribers: 692,076
Digital subscribers: 227,840
High-speed data subscribers: 386,472
Phone subscribers: 100,208
Contacts: Jerry McKenna, vice president of strategic marketing, (602) 364-6000.
Hispanic programming packages: “Digital Español” (a digital box, nine Spanish-language networks and two networks with SAP feeds, for $3 on top of digital cable service); “Cable One en Español” includes the Hispanic tier and standard cable for $53 per month.
Recent and future moves: Cable One continues to examine its Hispanic packages but has not made any major changes to its offerings in the last year.

RCN

Video revenue-generating units: 368,000
Data RGUs: 307,000
Voice RGUs: 236,000
Contact: Richard Ramlall, senior vice president of strategic external affairs and programming, (703) 434-8200
Hispanic Packages: Three main packages: “El Paquetón” (over 30 Spanish-language channels, over 100 English-language standard definition channels, and up to 16 HD channels, as well as English and Spanish-language VOD for $35); “MiVisión Lite” (same 30, plus Spanish-language video networks included in El Paquetón and VOD for $12 in addition to the cost of their regular English-language digital package); “MiVisión Plus” (39 Spanish-language channels, including such services as GolTV and ESPN Deportes that are not included in MiVisión Lite and VOD for $22.95 on top of an English-language digital package.)
Spanish VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers a significant amount of Spanish-language, movies, kids, music, sports and other programming on demand; video offerings can be bundled with data and phone offerings; offers a Global Saver international calling plan with 250 minutes to 68 countries for $9.95.
Major Hispanic markets: New York; Boston; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago.
Recent and future moves: In September 2006, RCN rolled out a radically revamped Hispanic package, which more than doubled its Spanish-language channels. This year, following an aggressive analog bandwidth-reclamation project, RCN has dramatically expanded its Hispanic offerings, launching MiVisión Lite and MiVisión Plus in July and El Paquetón in August. This year, RCN has also beefed up its Spanish-language VOD lineup and is planning to add additional linear and on-demand Spanish-language content by the end of the year. Based on its ongoing research into Hispanic customers, which it characterizes as an affluent and sophisticated group that speaks both Spanish and English at home, the MSO has included a significant amount of both English content and high-definition programming in its packages. Looking forward it is also interested in adding sports, soccer, novelas, news channels and general-entertainment Spanish-language programming. RCN has cut a deal with TiVo to roll out boxes that will allow consumers to access online content and it hopes to use that feature to expand the range of its Spanish-language content.

SOURCE: Multichannel News research. Information collected by George Winslow. Subscriber counts are the most recent available and are generally for the end of the second quarter of 2009. Pricing, channel counts, packages and promotions were current as of the start of September 2009.

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