History en Español Gains Berth in Miami

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Comcast Corp. will launch The History Channel en Español March 1 in its South Florida region, a cluster that includes Miami and Key West.

“This was probably the last big market that we’ve yet to get from them,” said David Zagin, senior vice president of affiliate sales for A&E Television Networks.

“We felt that it’s very important that a service like THC en Español be carried in that market.”

The History Channel en Español, launched last June, is carried on Hispanic tiers and currently has 300,000 to 400,000 subscribers, according to Zagin.

He couldn’t say how many subscribers the network will gain when Comcast’s 715,000-basic-subscriber South Florida cluster offers it as part of its Cable Latino Hispanic tier, because he didn’t know what kind of penetration that package had in South Florida.

“We’ll be very interested to see when they report numbers,” Zagin said.

ON HITS TOO

The Spanish-language service has a carriage deal with Comcast and is distributed by Headend in the Sky, the MSO’s digital platform, to operators such as Adelphia Communications Corp. and Insight Communications Co. It also has distribution deals with Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. and is carried in DMAs such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.

A&E Networks views The History Channel en Español as a tool cable companies can use to boost penetration of Hispanic tiers, as well as an opportunity for the programmer to expand its brand.

“We knew there was a void that needed to be filled with this type of genre,” Zagin said.

The lineup includes fare from The History Channel Latin America and A&E Mundo, which often “re-language” shows from the programmer’s U.S. library. Some original programming is coming on line, too, such as Panorama Mundial, a half-hour talk show, said Marlene Braga, director of programming and production for The History Channel en Español.

SORPRESA DEAL

Other Spanish-language services also secured distribution deals. Charter inked a multi-year agreement to add the kids network Sorpresa! to its Charter Latino tier. And DirecTV Inc. did a deal to offer Gol TV, the 24-hour soccer channel.

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