Los Angeles-based English-language Hispanic network Si TV, on
the heels of naming Javier Saralegui to its board of directors, this month said
it raised $24 million in a combination of equity and debt financing.
The new cash, which comes from the network's existing
investor group, is expected to support growth initiatives, including the
expansion of original programming.
CEO Michael Schwimmer declined to be interviewed about the
financing, claiming Si TV is still in the process of finalizing budgets that
reflect the new funding. However, in a prepared statement to Hispanic TV
Update, he said: "This infusion of capital will enable us to expand our
original programming initiatives and go after high-profile acquisitions, as
well as boost visibility for the channel with more aggressive marketing. It
also will enable us to hire top executive talent as needs warrant."
Si TV could use an infusion of new programming. In April,
the network announced with great fanfare the premier of Prison Break, a 2005 drama television series it acquired from 20th
Century Fox Television, marking the first time the series will run elsewhere
since its original run on Fox.
As with other networks
catering to the bilingual crowd, Si TV has faced a tough ad market, in which
still the lion's share of the Hispanic TV spend goes to Spanish-language
broadcast networks, particularly Univision. Founded in 1997 by writer and
producer Jeff Valdez and Bruce Barshop, Si TV set out to produce and distribute
original English-language, Latino-themed entertainment.
In 2004, the channel obtained more than $60 million in
initial funding from investors including EchoStar Communications, Time Warner
Inc., SYNCOM Funds, Columbia Capital, Rho Ventures, DND Capital Partners, Llano
Partners and company co-founder Barshop Ventures.
In May, the company announced that Saralegui, president and
chief operating officer of Univision Online and president of Galavision for a
combined 20 years, had joined its board.