Hispanic Strategies of Top U.S. Operators

The following listing ranks cable and satellite distributors according to their basic-subscriber universes, and provides a glimpse of their present and future plans to serve the Hispanic community. It was compiled by Multichannel News contributing correspondent George Winslow, based on information supplied by the operators.

Comcast Corp.

Basic Subscribers: 21.5 million
Digital Subscribers: 8 million
High-Speed Internet: 6 million
Contacts: David Jensen, vice president of international programming; Mauro Panzera, senior director of multicultural marketing, (215) 665-1700.
Hispanic Programming Packages: Cable Latino (16 to 22 Spanish-language channels, limited basic channels, digital set-top box and, where available, video on demand for $20 to $25); Cable Latino Completo (an additional 60 to 80 English-language channels from the expanded basic tier for about $49) and Cable Selecto (allows existing customers to upgrade to the Hispanic programming package for $5 to $15). Corporate has signed deals with 40-plus programmers; local systems customize lineups.
Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Offers over 100 hours of free Spanish-language VOD. Works with Planeta to provide Spanish-language Web site for high-speed data subscribers. Currently, no discounted bundles for Hispanic subscribers.
Major Hispanic Markets: Comcast passes about 32% of all U.S. Hispanic homes. Major Hispanic markets include Los Angeles; Miami; Dallas; northern New Jersey; San Francisco; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Chicago.
Recent and Future Moves: After rolling out lower-cost Hispanic tiers in 2003, the company continued to revamp offerings in 2004, launching a Spanish Web site for its high-speed portal with Planeta in January and announcing plans to simplify Hispanic tiers and to expand its free VOD offerings to over 100 hours in October. Local systems, which take 10 basic Spanish services and then customize the lineup with an additional six to 12 networks, will be revamping their lineup in the next few months. As the company rolls out voice-over- Internet protocol telephony, bundles featuring long-distance packages for Hispanics could be in the works.

DirecTV Inc.

Subscribers: 13.5 million
Contact: Stephanie Campbell, executive vice president of programming, (310) 535-5000
Hispanic Program Packages: Para Todos includes four tiers:
Opción Especial (more than 75 channels, including 25 Spanish- language networks and seven Spanish-language music channels for $26.99 a month); Opción Extra Especial (more than 125 channels, including 32 Spanish channels for $33.99 a month); Opción Ultra Especial (an additional 17 English channels and one Spanish network for $37.99 a month) and Opción Premier (adds 30 premium channels, including HBO Latino and a sports package of over 25 networks priced at $85.99 a month). Where available, local broadcast stations cost an additional $3.
Major Markets: National platform, but offers local Hispanic broadcast stations in many major markets such as Los Angeles, where six Spanish-language stations are included in the local broadcast offering of 26 stations.
Recent and Future Moves: Challenging Echostar Communications Corp.’s lead by boosting marketing efforts and increasing Hispanic program offerings, adding five new Spanish-language channels in the last year. Always looking for more programming. Management is bullish on the overall prospects of near VOD with rollout plans in the next year. Para Todos could get a NVOD component.

Time Warner Cable

Basic Subscribers: 10.9 million
Digital Subscribers: 4.7 million
High-Speed Internet: 3.7 million
Contact: Maida Chicon, director of multicultural marketing, (203) 351-2275, maida.chicon@twcable.com
Hispanic Programming Packages: The DTValue Package and DTV en Español features offerings and pricing that vary on a per-system basis. In New York it costs $52.95 and includes more than 250 channels, including a number of Spanish broadcast stations and more than 20 Spanish-language cable networks, 46 channels of digital music of which five are in Spanish, and a digital box and remote that gives access to movies on demand and other services. In New York, Time Warner also offers an introductory, streamlined DTV en Español package that runs as low as $27.95.
Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Some Spanish-language movies are available on MSO’s pay VOD platform. Both Roadrunner and AOL’s broadband service have Spanish pages.
Major Hispanic Markets: Include New York, New Jersey, San Diego, Texas and North Carolina, to name a few.
Recent and Future Moves: The New York City system rolled out a DTV en Español package in early 2003 and a number of other systems have followed, with their own customized versions. The company recently hired a director of multicultural marketing, and the MSO is now revamping its offerings, both for linear channels and VOD. The creation of a lower-cost tier that doesn’t require customers to buy up through the digital tiers is likely. VOD will also be a very important part of its Hispanic strategy, but the MSO wants to generate revenues from the product and may offer only limited free VOD. The rollout of telephony could also provide opportunities to bundle video with low-cost long-distance services for Hispanics. Also expect marketing campaigns targeted to specific groups within the Hispanic community, building on some of the successes local systems have already seen with that strategy.

EchoStar Communications Corp.

Basic Subscribers: 10.4 million
Contacts: Julie Popp, spokeswoman, (303) 723-2023
Hispanic Programming Packages: Dish Latino (an all- Spanish-language option with 25 networks and six music channels priced at $24.95); Dish Latino Dos (31 Spanish-language channels plus over 150 English-language channels for $34.99 per month); and Dish Latino Max (31 Spanish channels, plus over 195 English networks for $44.95). Local broadcast stations cost an additional $4 where available.
Major Hispanic Markets: National footprint but offers local broadcast stations in over 151 markets reaching about 93% of all TV households.
Recent and Future Moves: The market leader is fighting off increased competition by aggressively marketing its large and relatively low-cost package.

Cox Communications Inc.

Basic Subscribers: 6.3 million
Digital Subscribers: 2.4 million
High-Speed Internet: 2.4 million
Phone Subscribers: 1.2 million
Contact: Cesar Cruz, director of multicultural marketing, (404) 843-5000
Hispanic Program Packages: Paquete Latino (up to 35 Spanish-language networks and 10 to 15 channels English-language local broadcast stations and basic services for about $35). Designed so local systems can customize the lineup and pricing.
Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: No free VOD. Bundles phone and video in some markets, offering free long-distance minutes to Mexico. No Spanish-language Web site.
Major Markets: Arizona, Central Florida, Las Vegas, Southern California and West Texas, among others.
Recent and Future Moves: As part of a completely revamped Hispanic strategy, Cox launched the Paquete Latino package in September. It’s now available in San Diego; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Northern Virginia; Eureka, Santa Barbara and Bakersfield, Calif.; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; and Wichita and Topeka, Kan., with more to follow. Bundles of telephony, high-speed data and video are planned for late first quarter or early second quarter 2005, with emphasis on expanding Latino-focused phone packages. Spanish-language Web site and VOD products likely in mid-2005, but VOD offerings will not be free.

Charter Communications Inc.

Basic Subscribers: 6.1 million
Digital Subscribers: 2.7 million
High-Speed Internet: 1.8 million
Phone Subscribers: 40,200
Contact: Tim Kelly, director of marketing, core video, (314) 965-0555
Hispanic Programming Packages: Charter Latino (local broadcast channels and eight to 10 Spanish-language networks, increasing soon to 15 to 20 Spanish-language channels with free Spanish VOD, for $24.99)
Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: No free Spanish-language VOD or Spanish-language Web site at press time but free VOD is a key component of the company’s Hispanic strategy, and Charter Latino tier will soon include 100 hours of free VOD content. The MSO is testing a bundle of Charter Latino and a 384K high speed data service for $54.98.
Major Hispanic Markets: Include Los Angeles; Charleston, S.C.; and Ft. Worth, Texas.
Recent and Future Plans: In August, began the soft launch of a low-cost tier even though all the programming deals hadn’t been signed. Executives are now in the process of beefing up programming and VOD offering, a process expected to be completed by early 2005, when larger markets should have about 20 Spanish- language channels and smaller ones about 15. Is considering a Spanish-language Web site and as company rolls out telephony in 2005, bundling video and long distance phone plans for Hispanics could be an option.

Adelphia Communications Corp.

Basic Subscribers: 5.3 million
Digital Subscribers: 2 million
High-Speed Internet: 1.3 million
Contact: Judy Meyka, senior vice president of programming, (303) 268-6300.
Hispanic Programming Packages: Adelphia en Español is available in Southern California with three tiers: Basico (12 Spanish-language service and the broadcast basic services of 32 must carry broadcast stations, including 10 to 12 Spanish stations, for $25.95 or $5.95 as an add-on to a digital package); Especial ($4 for eight networks and eight music channels) and Ultimate ($8.95, a $1 discount for all 20 networks and 8 music channels)
Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: Some Spanish-language VOD is currently available, but there is no Spanish-language Web site for data customers and no bundles specifically targeted to Hispanics.
Major Hispanic Markets: Southern California as well as fast growing Hispanic markets in the Southeastern U.S.
Recent and Future Moves: Systems in other parts of the country, particularly the Southeast Division, are actively exploring the possibility of rolling out Adelphia en Español packages, which is currently available in Southern California and Florida. In California, the systems are planning to beef up VOD offerings in the months ahead and are actively exploring the possibility of creating a Spanish- language Web site. Bundling phone and video services are also in the game plan when the system rolls out telephony in 2005.

Cablevision Systems Corp.

Basic Subscribers: 3 million
Digital Subscribers: 1.3 million
High-Speed Internet: 1.3 million
Phone Subscribers: 189,191
Contacts: Matthew Weiss, vice president of digital product strategy, (516) 803-2300
Hispanic Programming Packages: iO en español (30 Spanish-language programming services, 20 hours of free Spanish-language on demand programming, the Telemundo, Univision and TeleFutura Spanish-language local broadcast channels and the broadcast basic tier). Digital customers at the Family level can add iO en español tier for $4.95, and customers at the broadcast basic level pay an additional $14.95 per month.
Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: Rainbow Media’s World Picks Latino On Demand service offers 20 hours of VOD programming a month, with 25% refreshed weekly. In July 2003, Cablevision partnered with Planeta Networks to launch a Spanish-language Web portal for its Optimum Online data service. Has a wide variety of bundles for video, data and phone but does not offer bundles specifically targeted to Hispanic customers.
Major Hispanic Markets: The company serves areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Long Island in New York, and Hudson County in New Jersey, which all have large Hispanic communities.
Recent and Future Plans: The Hispanic packages are currently available in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Newark, N.J., and Hudson County service areas. No date has yet been set for the rollout of the Hispanic tier into the other service areas of Long Island.

Bright House Networks

Basic Subscribers: Over 2.1 million
Digital Subscribers: 882,000
High-Speed Internet: 722,000
Contacts: Steve Stiger, group vice president of marketing, (407) 210-3156
Hispanic Programming Packages: Nuestros Canales (tier of seven Spanish-language channels cost $2.99 on top of the digital package of over 300 channels, which is generally priced at around $56)
Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: VOD services are widely available in the company’s franchises, and offering includes some Spanish-language VOD in the pay section. The Road Runner data service has Spanish-language pages for Hispanic customers. The company currently has no bundles specifically targeted to Hispanics.
Major Hispanic Markets: The Florida footprint for Bright House Networks, which is the MSO’s largest cluster, serves a number of large Hispanic communities.
Recent and Future Moves: The company launched a digital Hispanic tier in October 2003 and is currently reviewing its programming, pricing and bundles. No specifics yet, but look to see more programming that better targets the diversity of the Hispanic community.

Mediacom Communications Corp.

Basic Subscribers: 1.5 million
Digital Subscribers: 382,000
High-Speed Internet: 350,000
Contacts: Italia Commisso Weinand, senior vice president of programming and human resources, (845) 695-2600
Hispanic Programming Packages: Canales (includes nine Spanish-language channels and is available on the majority of systems that have been upgraded to digital). Customers must pay for analog package (which generally includes some Hispanic broadcasters) and the digital box in addition to the Canales tier. Company refused to provide price information on any of these products.
Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: The MSO offers no Spanish-language VOD, does not have a Spanish- language Web site or offer bundles particularly targeted to Hispanics.
Major Hispanic Markets: Its biggest Hispanic market is in Nogales, Ariz. Most of the company’s systems serve relatively small Hispanic communities.
Recent and Future Moves: Has plans to aggressively target the entire ethnic population and as part of that will add Spanish-language programming. Also working on Spanish-language VOD and Web site.

Insight Communications Co.

Basic Subscribers: 1.3 million
Digital Subscribers: 439,400
High-Speed Internet: 311,500
Phone Subscribers: 62,800
Contacts: Pam Euler Halling, senior vice president for marketing and programming, (917) 286-2300
Hispanic Programming Packages: Insight Para Tí (24 channels, including five English and 19 Spanish as well as the basic broadcast channels, is priced at $29.95)
Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: Para Tí gives customers a digital box that allows them access to VOD and an interactive programming guide. The company does not offer any specific Spanish VOD offerings, a Spanish Web site for its data customers, or bundles exclusively targeted to Hispanics.
Major Hispanic Markets: Serves some fast growing Hispanic markets, such as Lexington Ky., but generally operates in communities with relatively small Hispanic populations.
Recent and Future Moves: Launched Insight Para Tí package last summer and is now concentrating on marketing it.

Cable One Inc.

Basic Subscribers: 712,800
Digital Subscribers: 220,500
High-Speed Internet: 165,600
Contacts: Jerry McKenna, vice president of strategic marketing, (602) 364-6000
Hispanic Programming Packages: Digital Español (10 Spanish-language networks and the basic-cable tier, which includes local broadcasters, for $41.99 in about 98% of its systems)
Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: The company does not have a Spanish-language Web site for HSD customers, specific VOD services for Hispanics, or bundles that are specifically targeted to Hispanics.
Major Hispanic Markets: The MSO tends to serve small and mid-sized markets that do not have large Hispanic communities.
Recent and Future Moves: Would like to add more Hispanic programming, but has been disappointed with what is available.

Cebridge Communications

Basic Subscribers: Over 460,000
Contacts: Patty McCaskill, senior vice president of programming and marketing, (314) 965-2020
Hispanic Programming Packages: La Conexión Español (10 Spanish-language channels, costs $3.99) Customers must also lease a digital box for $3.99 and get the expanded basic tier, costing $37 to $40, putting total monthly cost at about $45 to $48. Some special promotions for customers willing to sign a year-long contract and provide a credit card reduce expanded basic cost to $29.95 for a total cost of under $38.
Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: No Spanish VOD, Spanish Web site for Internet customers and no bundles specifically targeted to Hispanics.
Major Hispanic Markets: Owns a number of Texas systems.
Recent and Future Moves: The Latino tier is primarily marketed in their Texas systems. No word on when it will roll it out to other systems.

RCN Corp.

Basic Subscribers: 370,187 (as of 2003)
High-Speed Internet: 174,898 (as of 2003)
Phone Subscribers: 246,711 (as of 2003)
Contacts: John Murawski, director of video programming, (609) 734-3700.
Hispanic Programming Packages: Canal Ñ Digital Vision ($9.95 to $11.95 for 10 to 15 Spanish-language networks and up to seven music services). Customers must, however, subscribe to basic cable, about $42.95, and get a digital box, around $4.95, for a monthly cost of least $56.85 a month.
Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: World Picks Latino On Demand service available in New York; Lehigh Valley, Pa.; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. No Spanish- language Web site for data customers. Video offerings can be bundled with a Hispanic International Plan that offers low- cost long distance rates to a number of Latin American countries.
Major Hispanic Markets Include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and New Jersey.
Recent and Future Moves: RCN has recently added the Spanish- language VOD in several markets and has rolled out a Hispanic video tier in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Washington; Lehigh Valley; Queens, N.Y.; and Chicago. Evaluating the need for additional programming and Spanish-language Web sites for high-speed and phone customers.

Bresnan Communications

Basic Subscribers: 297,000
Digital Subscribers: 100,000
High-Speed Internet: 57,000
Contacts: Jim Gemmill, vice president of operations, (914) 641-3300
Hispanic Programming: Digital Economico (Hits en Español, which includes 10 Spanish-language channels and seven music channels, plus local broadcasters, a digital box and access to pay per view for about $22); Digital Classico (adds 39 to 40 channels from expanded basic) Markets with significant Hispanic populations generally carry such broadcasters as Univision and Telemundo.
Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Currently offers no Spanish VOD, Spanish Web site or bundles specifically targeted to Hispanics.
Recent and Future Moves: Has been concentrating on the massive upgrade of its systems, but now is paying more attention to programming. Considering adding more Spanish-language channels and is considering the prospect of adding VOD services offered by Comcast, which has an equity interest in Bresnan
Major Hispanic Markets: Tends to serve smaller and mid-sized markets in four mountain states, many of which have relatively small Hispanic communities. Some smaller systems in Colorado have a high proportion of Hispanics.