Time Warner NYC Cuts Latino Service Pricing

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Time Warner Cable's New York City system last week planned to introduce a new combination of broadcast basic and the DTV en Español service aimed at Spanish-speaking TV viewers and priced at $27.95 per month — $22 less than the typical offering, which includes expanded-basic channels.

Bob Watson, vice president of programming and new business development at the system, said the new offer (for new customers only) was scheduled to break in local ads last Wednesday.

"We did a lot of cream-skimming at $49.95" since the Latino service launched in January, Watson said here last Tuesday at the Hispanic Television Summit, sponsored by Multichannel News
and Broadcasting & Cable. But research indicates a need to offer a product for around $30, he said.

He acknowledged a need to counter EchoStar Communications Corp.'s $21.95 Dish Latino entry package, although Time Warner's service includes some different programming, including the MSO's new Spanish-language local news channel, NY1 Noticias.

DTV en Español includes 23 Spanish-language channels, including SAP feeds of Boomerang, Cartoon Network and Toon Disney. Two-thirds of the $49.95 offering consists of English-language broadcast and cable channels that also appear in Time Warner's other DTV packages.

The new offer will be available throughout Time Warner New York's 2.2 million-home footprint, inside and outside the city, 30% of which consists of Spanish-speaking households.

Watson spoke on a panel with executives from other MSOs and from EchoStar Communications Corp., who discussed varying strategies for penetrating the fast-growing Spanish-speaking market.

Tony Maldonado, vice president of marketing at the Cox Communications Inc. system in Phoenix, said marketers there segment the Latino buying populace by levels of "assimilation" into the English-speaking environment. Cox targets TeleLatina to moderately assimilated Hispanics: They want Spanish-language programming and make enough money to be able to afford cable.

In Arizona, at least, there's a need for content from Mexico, the country of origin for a high percentage of the population, Maldonado said. Other areas of interest, generally, are programming about immigration issues, health issues and education, he said.

Comcast Corp. senior director of multicultural marketing Mauro Panzero said his company tries to bring in programming that appeals to people originating from different Spanish-speaking regions, including Central and South America and the Caribbean. He said local systems can tailor packages to suit the local population mix.

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