Condista Surfaces as U.S. Latino Cable Hub

Latino programming provider Condista continues to gain traction for the networks it represents.

The Miami-based company last month secured distribution for Utilisima Satelital, which covers women and their lifestyles, and Infinito, which looks at unexplainable and obscure phenomena, on Time Warner Cable of New York City's "DTV en Español" package, according to Condista founder Jorge Fiterre.

The addition of those channels follows the rollout of movie channel Cine Latino, general-entertainment and info source CNC Colombia, and music-video service HTV when DTV en Español bowed in January.

Other Time Warner systems are exploring expanded channel relationships with Condista, while Comcast Corp. is among a number of major MSOs looking at some deals in the near future, said Fiterre.

After four years as a haven for Spanish-language services seeking U.S. distribution, "persistence is starting to pay off," said Fiterre, who spent 13 years in local cable-system operations — nine with Adelphia Communications Corp.

At first glance, Condista appears similar to OlympuSat Inc. and International Channel's Canales ñ, which offer ops a catalog of Latino services for digital-tier placement. But while Canales ñ affords MSOs a choice of channels or their full assortment, Condista opts only for individual network affiliations.

"We're more of an aggregator than a packager," Fiterre said. "The way we distinguish ourselves is to work with some of the best channels out there in Latin America. Then you let the individual system or MSO decide what networks are in their best interest to carry."

Twelve networks currently reside in Condista's stable, including TVE International, the showcase of Television Espanola, Spain's state-run broadcaster.

Condista finalized distribution-agent contracts with many of its channel clients over the last two years, the latest with Gòl TV, the all-soccer network, which kicked off on EchoStar Communications Corp.'s "Dish Latino" package in January.

Claxson, one of the largest channel producers/distributors in Latin America, has entrusted Condista with U.S. carriage for HTV Musica and Infinito. When Claxson signed with Condista, the former was its only channel available for U.S. consumption. "It didn't make sense at the time to create our own sales force," noted U.S. business development director Sebastian Duval.