Upfronts 2011: Discovery en Espanol to Add 50 New Series for 2011-12

Discovery U.S. Hispanic will bring Spanish-language versions of 50 original series developed for other Discovery Communications Inc. networks to its programming slate this fall, David Zaslav, DCI president and CEO, said at its upfront event at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York on May 18.

The new series include shows developed by Discovery Latin America or by Discovery U.S. that are being dubbed in Spanish. Zaslav said Discovery U.S. Hispanic would benefit from DCI's $1 billion investment in original content across its 13 networks, including Discovery, Animal Planet and others. He noted the amount of the investment is the company's highest ever, exceeding 2010's $800 million.

Zaslav also announced that starting in October, the network will be measured with C3 ratings in a bid to extend its commitment to advertisers. The addition of the commercial advertising ratings to the programming slate underscores Discovery's expectations that the newly launched Discovery Familia and Discovery en Español will continue to grow. Discovery en Español, which is among the few Spanish-language networks focused on nonfiction programming, has had five consecutive years of double-digit ratings growth.

"We knew that there was a trend back then, and it was only going to escalate," Ivan Bargueiras, SVP, ad sales, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic, and GM, Discovery U.S. Hispanic, said of the network's launch 13 years ago. "Discovery en Español stayed true to what it represented -- the best of the Discovery company's content. We were then able to shift gears and take full advantage of launching Discovery Familia."

Among the new programs are Frozen Planet, from the Emmy-award winner makers of Planet Earth and Human Planet, which takes viewers on a journey through one of the world's most inhospitable places in the Arctic and Antarctic; and Sirenas (Mermaids), a two-hour special that uses CGI technology to combine fact with fiction created for the Animal Planet brand.

"We felt that it was so compelling that we wanted to make sure that Discovery en Español had that type of engagement in the audience,"Bargueiras said. "We feel it's going to be perfect for the brand."

Destination 2111 will explore the possibilities of Latin America's future in six hour-long episodes by visiting five major cities in an effort to reveal what life will be like in 100 years. Living under the Radar, a special focusing on the immigration debate currently sweeping the U.S., will introduce families affected by the Arizona immigration bill. Out of the Wild: Venezuela brings another action-packed series to the net, dropping nine Americans off into Venezuela in a test of survival.

The upcoming programming also includes Prophets of Science Fiction, which introduces the legendary figures behind the best of the genre, and Reel Story, which delves into the true stories behind law-and-order themed movies such as Erin Brockovich and Monster. Discovery's ever-popular Shark Week programming stunt on Discovery en Español.

The network has competition brewing by way of Fox Hispanic Media and National Geographic's yet-to-launch Nat Geo Mundo. David Tardio, director, ad sales, Discovery U.S. Hispanic, said the new competition brings a wider variety of nonfiction programming and the ability to create even more brand loyalty. Bargueiras added he has no worries either: "We have first in the market advantage, brand awareness and a strong relationship with our clients to take full advantage of all the best Discovery has to offer."