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A Tour of the New Hispanic Cable Networks

CNN en Español

CNN's Spanish-language service is piped into 2.5 million U.S. homes and reaches another 11.4 million in Latin America. The Atlanta-based service, launched in 1997, taps into CNN's arsenal of international bureaus.

Discovery en Español

Launched in 1998, Discovery en Español reaches about 8 million viewers with a Discovery Channel-style mix of fare. The net also tries to emphasize Latin American subjects, such as this month's specials: Miss Venezuela: The Beauty Industry Machine, a look at the beauty-pageant craze in Venezuela, and a program on writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

ESPN Deportes

ESPN dipped into Spanish-language sports with a Sunday-night programming block and, come January, will jump in with a dedicated cable channel. ESPN Deportes will feature many ESPN essentials, including the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and Wimbledon, as well as international soccer, baseball and boxing. Deportes will also have its version of SportsCenter, along with highlight and preview shows.

Fox Sports World en Español

Drawing from the best of Fox Sports' domestic fare, such as MLB playoff games and international competitions, the net, which launched in 1997, counts about 5.3 million subscribers, about half of which are Hispanic cable homes. As an early Hispanic cable entry, Fox secured some coveted basic-cable carriage in select markets.

Fox Sports en Español emphasizes Mexican sports, particularly soccer and baseball, but other regions are also represented, such as Caribbean winter baseball and South American soccer. "We try to reflect the diversity of the Hispanic community," says GM David Sternberg.


With 5.7 million Hispanic cable subscribers, Univision-owned Galavision reaches about 90% of U.S. Hispanic cable homes, among the best penetration rates for a Hispanic service. Galavision is designed to counterprogram its broadcast siblings Univision and Telefutura, focusing on live news, sports and entertainment shows. For the coming TV season, Galavision plans 60 hours per week of live programming.

Galavision claims it outdelivers all English-language networks for Hispanic viewers in the 18-34 and 18-49 demos.

Univision and Mexican broadcaster Televisa are collaborating on five new digital networks, focusing on movies, music and culture. EchoStar has agreed to carry three of the networks.

La Familia Network

The Spanish-language family channel offers a mix of entertainment and informational programming for adults and kids. Religious programmer The Inspiration Networks handles sales and distribution, but La Familia is not a religion net. So far, it reaches about 150,000 subscribers on select Cablevision and Time Warner systems.

Between 10 and 20 more launches are pending, says Senior VP, Affiliate Relations, Tom Hohman. "There is nothing else out there targeting Hispanic families." A deal with OlympuSAT 1 is expected to close within a month.


NBC-owned Mun2 targets urban Hispanics and non-Hispanics with music and pop-culture programming. Formerly the older, female-skewing GEMs network, it was acquired by Telemundo two years ago and relaunched as Mun2, reaching 5.8 million homes. Of that count, about 3 million are Hispanic cable households.

Most of Mun2 programming is in English with bilingual hosts. Selected Spanish-language shows pop up, though. Mun2 airs off-nets of Futurama in Spanish (Cartoon Network has the English-language version in syndication), figuring that viewers are already familiar with the English version. Puerto Rican music show Jamz is in Spanish since the music is in Spanish and most of the musicians interviewed speak Spanish.

"You have to really analyze when you put something in Spanish," says VP of Programming Yolanda Foster.

MTV Español/VH Uno

Unlike many cable nets that try to cater to multiple Hispanic cultures, MTV Español and VH Uno are quite specific. The former caters to Mexican-music fans; VH Uno offers tropical and Caribbean music, like that from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. "We looked for vertical niches," explains Eric Sherman, head of MTV Networks digital services. His services stick with Spanish-language music and leave English-language to their general-market cousins. MTV Español, which launched in the late 1990s, reaches about 6.5 million subscribers; VH Uno counts about 2 million subs.


¡Sorpresa!, which translates to "surprise," offers Spanish-language live-action and animated shows for kids and tweens. Most of the programming is imported from Spain and Latin America. The network, with deals on Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox and some NCTC systems, reaches fewer than 1 million subs. Earlier this year, parent company Firestone Communications acquired the assets of defunct Spanish broadcast HITN and, in two months, overhauled it as ¡Sorpresa!.


As an English-language, Hispanic network, Si TV can be hard to explain. "Hispanic is much more inclusive" than just Spanish speakers, says network chief Jeff Valdez. Slated to launch Dec. 29 with an eight-hour wheel, the net will offer English-language entertainment fare that appeals to Hispanic viewers, like acquired series New York Undercover. Si TV is aimed at adults 18-34.

Says Valdez, "We are trying to appeal to U.S.-born, English-speaking Hispanics" who watch general-market TV. "You can't expect them to watch a novella."

So far, the channel has a distribution deal to be carried on EchoStar's America's Top 150 tier.