HBO Latino Bulks Up Its Schedule

HBO Latino will look to distance
itself from other Spanish-language premium
channels by adding a slew of movies and new
original series to its lineup.

Over the next six months, the
network will bow more than
26 Latin-themed movies from
various countries as part of a
Friday-night block of fi lms, Lucinda
Martinez, vice president
of domestic network distribution
and multicultural marketing
for HBO Latino, said.

Also in the cards is the
launch of as many as three new
original scripted and/or reality
series in the next year. Adding
the original movies and series
will provide HBO Latino
subscribers with new, exclusive
programming targeted
to Spanish-speaking viewers,
alongside overdubbed versions of HBO’s full
complement of original series and acquired
theatrical films.

“We’re just really investing in the network
and making sure it lives up to the promise of
the brand,” she said.

Among the foreign-produced titles set to premiere
as part of the Friday night “Estrenos Latinos”
movie block, which begins this month,
are dramas Tropico de Sangre, produced in the
Dominican Republic, and Contracorrente from
Peru, as well as well as the Spanish/Mexican coproduction
Solo Quiero Caminar.

“We’ve lined up our original Latino movies
to premiere every Friday night, to go with the
Spanish-language version of HBO’s Saturdaynight
movie premieres,” Martinez said.

On the series side, the network is in talks with
producers to add three new series to an existing
originals lineup that includes Epitafios, Hijos del
, Mandrake, Capadocia, Sexo Urbano
and Alice, Martinez said. Also on the docket for
the fall is an animated special, El Perro y el Gato:
Sigue Soñando
, as well as an HBO documentary
film, The Latino List.

Martinez said the original series complement
the Spanish-dubbed versions of such HBO hits
as Boardwalk Empire and True Blood, which are
very popular with HBO Latino viewers.

“Our viewers get the best of both worlds, because
they get premieres in Spanish of our great
series like True Blood and Boardwalk Empire,
and we’ve seen that in most cases, True Blood
will do just as well as some of the [Spanish-language]
originals,” Martinez said. “You have to
realize that we’re delivering the best of both
worlds to our viewers.”

HBO Latino will also look to play more aggressively
in the sports arena. The network,
which currently airs HBO Sports’ slate of live
boxing matches with its own announcers, will
serve as the first destination for replays of Hispanic-
targeted pay-per-view boxing matches,
Martinez said. Last year, it was the first to replay
the July 2010 Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz
fight. The telecast was cross-promoted on HBO
in an effort to draw boxing fans to HBO Latino.

“Just because you’re not Latino doesn’t
mean you shouldn’t watch HBO Latino as
well,” she said.

Martinez added that the network is looking
at developing a sports news show — a Latino
version of HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant
, although no specifics are in place.

The mix of originals and content from HBO
gives HBO Latino a competitive advantage
over other Spanish-language premium channels
like the recently launched Encore Español,
which mirrors the programming of the
flagship Encore channel.

“We’re really the only premium Spanishlanguage
network that offers original content,
which puts us at a great competitive
advantage because we’re hyper-serving an
audience that now has grown exponentially,”
Martinez said, citing the results of the 2010
U.S. Census as evidence. “It’s exciting, because
we’ve been in this space since 2000,
and now we‘ve increased our programming
that’s specially created with the tastes
in mind for the [Hispanic] audience in the

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.