HSN Readies Spanish-Language Version

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Hoping to reach Hispanic female subscribers, Home Shopping Network is planning to launch a 24-hour, Spanish-language version of itself July 4.

The service, Home Shopping en Español (HSeE), is targeted toward Hispanic women, and it will provide more entertainment and informational programming than the traditional HSN, network senior vice president and general manager John de Armas said.

To attract affiliates, HSeE will offer operators upfront launch fees based on systems' Hispanic-subscriber bases.

The service is an extension of a daily, three-hour version of the channel that has appeared on Galavisión for the past two years.

"We've experienced double-digit growth through Galavisión," de Armas said, although he would not reveal specific revenue figures. "Our customers have voiced a strong demand to have access to the channel all of the time."

With a target of more than 8 million to 10 million Hispanic cable households, and with the growth in Hispanic buying power, de Armas believes the service should thrive and generate revenue for both HSN and operators.

The Hispanic population is expected to spend $350 billion in consumer goods this year and to hit more than $450 billion per year by the end of the decade.

HSeE also hopes to appeal to Hispanic women, who represent 85 percent of the network's sales. "Our mission is to provide the U.S. Latina with a lifestyle experience currently unavailable in Spanish-language television," de Armas said. "The service will be an open mix of shopping, education and entertainment."

HSeE is currently talking with major MSOs about distribution, but it has yet to reach any carriage deals.

The network will offer cash launch fees to operators for analog carriage, HSeE vice president of sales John Figueroa said. Fees are based on an ascending scale depending on the total number of Hispanic subscribers the MSO commits. The fees would be paid annually over the contract term.

Operators will also receive the standard 5 percent return on all sales from the network.

While expressing initial interest, one Northeast cable-operator executive said he would have to see the deal before making any decisions. "Analog channels are scarce, but we have a large Hispanic subscriber base, so there is some interest," he said.

The network will feature Hispanic on-air talent and employ many Hispanic Americans behind the camera, as well as on the customer-service side, de Armas said.

The network's format will differ from the traditional HSN service. HSeE will feature more entertainment segments and provide more information and instruction on the various products sold on-air, he added.

It will also be more interactive, with viewers calling in to discuss their lives and lifestyles.

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