Comcast Commits to Networks for Niños

After what it called “a thorough evaluation of dozens of proposals,” Comcast has done what any company considering new Hispanic offerings would do — start ’em young and go after the biggest potential audience.

With infants and young children representing the largest segment of the U.S. Hispanic population, family programming targeting bicultural Latino kids was the ultimate decision on what to add to Comcast cable systems starting in January 2017.

The networks Comcast selected: Kids Central and Primo TV.

Kids Central is an English-language network offering education programming of specific appeal to bicultural Hispanic children between the ages of 3 and 7 prior to primetime, when the network expands its audience with a block of programming targeted to the whole family. Both English-language and Spanish-language video-on-demand will be available to Comcast subscribers.

Kids Central is owned and operated by Condista Networks, the U.S. distributor of 22 networks offering programming from across Iberoamérica, including Canal Sur and Argentina’s Telefe, which Viacom has agreed to acquire for $345 million, outbidding AT&T and Turner Broadcasting System.

“We are proud to work with Comcast to bring this network to viewers,” Condista Networks president Jorge Fiterre said. “Kids Central offers a new option for both English- and Spanish-speaking children and their families.”

Primo TV is an English-language educationally focused network with appeal to bicultural Hispanic viewers ages 6-16. It’s owned by V-Me Media and will include animated series, adventure programming and shows devoted to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Awareness designed to connect US Hispanics to their cultural roots.

“We’re excited to launch Primo TV on Comcast," Vme Media senior vice president of corporate strategy Victor X. Cerda said. “Primo TV supports Vme Media’s mission to provide empowering content to the next wave of Hispanic and bicultural youth. V-me also applauds Comcast for supporting a Hispanic-owned network in reaching a growing population with content that positively reflects U.S. Hispanic values on screen.”

Why the two new channels devoted to Latino youth? In order to win FCC approval for its acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast in 2011 committed to launching 10 new independently owned networks by 2019. Eight of these networks were to be minority-owned.

With Primo TV and Kids Central, Comcast has brought to viewers seven of these 10 offerings. Millennial-targeted Latin-inspired El Rey Network arrived in 2013 from director Robert Rodriguez, after Latino-owned BabyFirst Americas was brought to viewers in 2012.

Comcast also added African-American owned networks Revolt and Aspire.

BBC World News, the U.K.-based international news network that Comcast added in 2011, counts toward its 10-network commitment.

“Kids Central and Primo TV’s unique focus on young bicultural Hispanics fill an unmet need in youth-oriented programming and further demonstrate our commitment to providing the best experience for bicultural Hispanic families,” Javier Garcia, senior vice president and general manager of multicultural services at Comcast Cable, said. “We believe that these networks will provide high-quality educational and entertaining content while infusing Latino culture into the experience.”

To narrow down the proposals received, the main criteria Comcast considered were the content of the network; whether the network is fully financed; whether the networks’ ownership and/or management groups are well-established, have relevant experience, and are substantially owned by Hispanic-Americans; whether the network has launched and has existing or potential multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) distribution; price; and whether the network and its potential carriage provide value to Comcast and its customers.