Vme Set To Launch Ad-Supported Sibling To Noncomm Channel

The parent company of Vme, the Hispanic educational network distributed mainly via PBS stations as a digital multicast offering sharing broadcast spectrum, is planning to launch a second channel free of noncommercial advertising restrictions. While the company had stated in a July release that it had teamed with DirecTV on the new offering, Vme now says there is no deal with DirecTV or other distributors for the planned new offering. (This article updates information originally published on Aug. 3 online by Multichannel News and in the Hispanic Television Update newsletter.)

From its onset, Vme — the Spanish-language educational programming network — was not the Hispanic version of PBS. Vme’s creators clearly desired to make advertising part of the network’s business model. But because the network is distributed via the multicast feeds of local PBS stations, it was held to the same commercial restrictions as public broadcasters.

To work around those limitations, Vme group says it plans this second, commercial channel that would help put the operation on an even playing field with competitors such as Nickelodeon and Discovery Familia.

Vme CEO Eligio Cedeño told Hispanic Television Update in a telephone interview the new channel has not yet found a distribution partner, refuting a network release distributed to Hispanic marketing and advertising professionals in mid-July that said it had worked with DirecTV in creating “a new commercial platform.”

A Vme executive who spoke with HTU when contacted about the release was “not authorized” to speak on behalf of Vme, and that internal confusion led to the dissemination of incorrect information, Cedeño said, contacting HTU after the Multichannel News item that this story replaces was published.

A Venezuelan banker who has been a key member of Vme’s Miami, Fla.-based operations for three years, Cedeño also said Vme is not working directly with any distributors yet about a new commercial feed.

Speaking of the second Vme channel, which does not yet have a launch date, Cedeño said, “As you know, Vme has had a lot of problems getting advertisers, because of its limitations. We now believe we have found the right way to push the channel forward.”

Cedeño, along with Venezuelan investors Eduardo Hauser and Juan José Rendon, in April 2013 gained controlling interest in Vme. Cedeño is also involved with two unrelated entities: Internet TV Soi.tv and Canadian Hispanic TV network Nuevo Mundo.