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Comcast Deals In Pair of Kids Nets

Two new Hispanic networks to launch next January on Comcast systems will look to play on a crowded kids-targeted playground with content geared to a fast-growing, multicultural audience.

Networks Kids Central and Primo TV will launch in January, looking to fill a void for Hispanic kids who aren’t being served by traditional broadcast and cable networks. With nearly half of all U.S.-born Latinos now younger than 18, according to the Pew Research Center — and with Hispanics watching more hours of traditional television than any group other than African-Americans, according to Nielsen — Comcast executives say the networks will effectively reach that audience.

“We are pretty well-covered with preschool kids, but we didn’t have anything on the educational side that featured content in Spanish and English,” Comcast Multicultural Services senior vice president and general manager Javier Garcia told Multichannel News. “That was very appealing to us when looking at new networks.”

Both Primo and Kids Central will get an initial subscriber boost from Comcast, which will launch the networks across most of their systems, although it’s unclear how many subscribers the MVPD will allot the services.

The additions stem from a condition Comcast agreed to in its 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal, in which it agreed to launch eight minority-owned and operated channels. In 2012 and 2013, Comcast launched kids-targeted BabyFirst Americas; music-themed service Revolt TV, founded by hip hop artist Sean “Diddy” Combs; African- American targeted entertainment network Aspire, TV led by NBA hall of famer Magic Johnson; and millennials-aimed El Rey Network, backed by producer and director Robert Rodriguez.

Comcast must add two more networks — likely aimed at African-Americans — by 2019, Kids Central, expected to launch in mid-January, will target Hispanic kids 3 to 7 years of age during the day with a heavy focus on internationally-created animated content, according to Jorge Fiterre, president of Condista Networks, which owns the network. During the evenings, it will offer “Family Central,” with content intended for kids and their parents.

“There’s always room for a unique and different voice,” Burke Berendes, president of business development for Condista, said. “The mix of international content with an educational bent to it also differentiates us from what’s in the marketplace.”

The network will have a rate card, although Fiterre would not disclose specifics. Kids Central is open to Hispanic-tier placement, Berendes added.

Primo TV will target Hispanic kids age 6 to 16 with content that features high educational value and entertainment standards, according to Victor Cerda, senior vice president of Vme Media, which owns the service.

“We’re targeting the U.S. Hispanic Latino adolescents who speak both Spanish and English who are looking for entertaining programs but also something that has some educational aspects to it,” Cerda said.

Cerda wouldn’t say how many Comcast subscribers Primo TV would have at launch, but added he’s grateful to Comcast for providing an opportunity to showcase its programming to cable viewers. He also said the performance of the previous four minority-targeted cable networks launched by Comcast bodes well for Primo TV’s success. “They broke the ice for us so we’re hoping to follow and repeat and build upon what they did,” he said.