Dish Latino Chief:Time For Better Ads,Fewer Hispanic Nets

Combine and conquer.
Or be conquered. That was a message
the general manager of Dish
Latino, Rubén Mendiola, wanted
to get across to the 400-plus television
executives attending the
Hispanic TV Summit put on by
Multichannel News and Broadcasting
& Cable
last Wednesday.

“I hope the industry is ready for
consolidation,” Mendiola said.
“We will benefit from having
stronger channels everywhere.”
Smaller channels aimed at Hispanic
audiences don’t always have
the resources to produce compelling
content, and the quality of
programming would improve if
they joined forces, he opined.

Observing that some Latino
channels reach as few as 200,000
homes, he pointed out some basic
economics: “If your resources are
mainly from what the distributor
is paying you, you have a limited
amount of money.” And: “You
don’t have a lot of advertisers because
you don’t have viewers.”

He sounded a familiar distributor’s
theme: “If you put everything
on your pay TV channel online for
free … why am I going to pay you?”

He also called on advertisers to
step up their efforts to back Hispanic
programming and for networks
to more aggressively fight
for ad dollars. Telemundo’sMun2
was a good role model, he said.
“They have some great advertisers.”

Dish and Rentrak, crunching
set-top data, have found Hispanic
households watch a significant
amount of TV on weekend mornings
— a time when many networks
run infomercials, he noted.
“Their best window is spent on a
chopper… or erectile dysfunction,”
he lamented.

Afterward, The Wire told Mendiola
everyone in the audience
came away with a good idea of
what it would be like to sit across
the negotiating table from him.
“Oh, they already know,” the
seven-year Dish veteran said.

Stephen A. Smith
Wants to Enter
Late-Night Fray

Former ESPN on-air and radio personality
Stephen A. Smith is looking to make a
splash in the late-night cable talk show wars.

The opinionated sports commentator,
who currently hosts a morning sports-talk
radio show on Fox Sports Radio, tweeted
last Thursday that Showtime has greenlighted
a pilot episode for a new late-night
talk show that would focus on sports and
other topical news issues. Smith, who hosted
a daily talk show on ESPN titled Quite Frankly
With Stephen A. Smith
from 2005 to 2007, and
hosted a sports-talk radio show on ESPN
Radio for three years through 2008, said via
Twitter that the proposed talk show would
be taped on Oct. 27.

Showtime officials would not comment
on the tweet or on the potential talk show
venture. If it eventually does get to air, Smith
would face a formidable lineup of late-night
talkers including E!’s Chelsea Lately; BET’s
The Mo’Nique Show; TBS’s Lopez Tonight
and, coming in November, TBS and Conan
O’Brien’s Conan.

N.Y. Jets on N.Y. Jets:
‘Sunday Ticket’ Joins
JetBlue TV Lineup

Weekend fliers on JetBlue will be getting
two tickets instead of one starting Oct. 3.

That is when the airline will add “NFL Sunday
Ticket” to its existing DirecTV lineup of
36 free channels.

DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket provides access
to all Sunday afternoon games as well as
pre-game and post-game action.

Between Oct. 3 and Jan. 2, some of those
36 channels will
be replaced by
Sunday Ticket
game feeds on
JetBlue, which
also happens
to be the “official airline” of
the New York
known as Gang
Green),as well as
the Buffalo Bills.

Busy Kent, Zaslav:
CEOs to Co-Chair
NCTA Chi Confab

Jerry Kent, the CEO of Suddenlink Communications,
and David Zaslav, the CEO of
Discovery Communications
, will co-chair
the 2011 National Cable & Telecommunications
Association convention (The Cable
Show) in Chicago.

That’s the 60th annual convention, which
The Wire still thinks of as the National Show.
And we thought MCN turning 30 this year
was a big deal.

Kent is coming off co-chair duties at another
keystone cable industry event, last
month’s Walter Kaitz Foundation annual
dinner. He shared that duty with Scripps
Networks Interactive
CEO Ken Lowe.
They’re both seen here at the Kaitz dinner
presenting a “Diversity Champion” award
to Zaslav, on behalf of Discovery, a company
that’s turning 25 this year and is in the midst
of high-profile network makeovers (The
Hub and OWN).

Ask a busy executive, etc.

You Can’t Rush DTV:
FCC Gives 7th Waiver
For MVDDS Holder

A Cablevision Systems-affiliated entity,
DTV Norwich LLC
, last week won more time
at the Federal Communications Commission
before it has to fulfill an agreement
from 2004 to spin off the startup to shareholders
in a new company.

The divestiture was ordered because
DTVN has a license in the New York City area
(and elsewhere) to operate a Multichannel
Video Distribution and Data Service, or
MVDDS. It overlaps Cablevision’s service territory,
a violation of cross-ownership rules.

The spinoff didn’t occur in the projected
90 days, and the FCC has granted
360-day extensions ever since. This was
the seventh.

The FCC’s logic: Cablevision has said it’s
developing MVDDS technology, which is
good for the emerging category. And as no
one has deployed MVDDS anywhere commercially,
Cablevision’s continued ownership
hasn’t hampered MVDDS competition
in New York.

“It’s small stuff , but it shows how the exception
can swallow the rule year after year,”
the wag who alerted The Wire said.