Mexicanal, a cable channel designed for Mexicans living in
the U.S., has renewed its long-term carriage pact with DirecTV, the largest
U.S. satellite-TV provider.
Terms were not disclosed, but Mexicanal president and CEO
Luis Torres-Bohl told Hispanic Television
Update that DirecTV will continue to carry the service, along with Comcast
and other cable operators and over-the-air TV stations in dozens of markets.
"We are realigning
our distribution," Torres-Bohl said. As part of that realignment, the network
asked cable systems to drop local Mexicanal over-the-air affiliates in markets
where those affiliates were carried for free on basic cable.
Mexicanal confirmed that several local cable systems have
stopped carrying its affiliates, and that its distribution has dropped to 2.5
million homes from 3.2 million households.
Torres-Bohl denied press reports that claimed that the
affiliate drops were a condition of the carriage-renewal agreement with
"Changes in our distribution have nothing to do with
DirecTV," he told HTU, adding that
the new deal "is a long-term agreement and a good one at that."
Management changes are also underway at Mexicanal, a joint
venture of Atlanta-based Castalia Communications and Mexico's Cablecom.
Longtime GM and chief operating officer Maruchi Urquiaga left the company in
Urquiaga, who had been with Castalia since 2004 and was part
of the founding team of Mexicanal, is not being replaced. Her responsibilities
are being absorbed by Torres-Bohl, assisted by Tony Gonzalez in operations and
Israel Reyero in programming and production.
Mexicanal offers news, sports and entertainment programming
for Mexicans living Stateside, a group that comprises a considerable percentage
of the total U.S. Hispanic market.
At deadline, Mexicanal was close to announcing special
programming, including coverage of Mexico's July 1 presidential election, with
updates in real-time directly from its affiliates across Mexico.