One of Argentina's largest cable systems companies is
rushing to acquire program networks, accelerating a trend in the market by top MSOs to
gobble up software sources.
The holding company Grupo UNO, which controls the
country's third-largest cable operator, Supercanal Holding S.A., has purchased an
undisclosed stake in the female-focused channel, Siempre Mujer.
Grupo UNO is also hatching another channel project with
Luciano Benetton -- a member of the family behind the famous Italian clothes company,
Benetton. The fashion mogul is no stranger to South America, where he owns a ranch in
According to a source at Siempre Mujer, the working title
of the planned Benetton co-venture channel is "Colors," and it is slated to bow
in the first quarter of 1999.
Supercanal's eagerness to acquire its own programming
content has been largely triggered by recent realignments in Argentina's pay TV
Major players on the operations side of the business have
been aggressively staking their claims to key programming sources within the market, where
alliances and partnerships have been furiously reshaping over the last year.
Responding to these moves, Supercanal felt the need to
secure its own programming sources, said its programming director, Jose Luis Lopez.
Supercanal's bid for Siempre Mujer, which had also
attracted buying interest from investors outside Argentina, is the first step in securing
its own roster of in-house channels, added Lopez. "We want to become a content
provider. Siempre Mujer is the first step on the way to doing that."
In addition to being the third-largest MSO in the country,
with a total of 500,000 subscribers, Supercanal is the largest MSO in the Argentine
provinces. It also has operations outside Argentina -- in Spain, Bolivia and the Dominican
Siempre Mujer is one of four women's cable channels in
Argentina, but it has been trailing behind its rivals in ratings. To pep up popularity,
Supercanal is rethinking the channel's content and on-air look.
But it will continuing targeting the same demographic, the
better-off, professional woman, said Siempre Mujer owner Raul Krislavin. Plans are also
afoot to launch the channel pan-regionally in June, he added.