Comparing Operators’ Strategies

A Comprehensive Look at Hispanic Offerings from Cable and Satellite Operators

Comcast

Basic Subscribers: 24.1 million

Digital Subscribers: 14.1 million

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 12.4 million

Voice Subscribers: 12.0 million

Contacts: David Jensen, VP of international programming; Mauro Panzera, senior director of multicultural marketing, (215) 665-1700

Hispanic Packages: CableLatino (up to 20 Spanish-language channels, limited basic channels, digital set-top box and video on demand in Spanish for $20 to $25, with typical pricing around $25). Corporate has signed deals with about 70 programmers. Systems customize local lineups to reflect the system’s demos and a variety of more expensive packages are available.

Spanish VOD, High-Speed Data and Bundles: Offers over 149 hours of free Spanish-language VOD in addition to the Spanish-language secondary audio program feeds for some pay movies; has an extensive Comcast Latino Spanish-language Web site for high-speed data subscribers; has a number of triple play bundles specifically for Hispanic subscribers.

Major Hispanic Markets: Passes about 4 million Hispanics, serving such large Hispanic DMAs as Miami; Houston; Boston; San Francisco; Denver; Atlanta; Philadelphia; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Chicago.

Recent and Future Moves: Comcast was the first cable operator to devote significant resources to the Hispanic market. After rolling out lower-cost Hispanic tiers in 2003, the company has continued to revamp offerings, simplifying tiers, expanding free VOD offerings and adding channels. Over the last year, Comcast expanded the number of corporate deals with Hispanic channels to 70, up from 60 in the fall of 2006, and increased the free Spanish on-demand offering from 125 hours to 140. Working with Terra Networks, the MSO rolled out a Spanish-language portal, Comcast Latino, and has since been adding to its online Spanish-language video. Bundles specifically targeted to Hispanics were launched in October 2006 and they are now available in all of its major Hispanic markets. More channels are expected to be added as Comcast systems reclaim analog bandwidth, a process that has already been started in Chicago. In 2008 and beyond, switched digital will open up additional space for new content. More Spanish-language VOD and broadband content, as well as mobile TV and HDTV content, are also on the roadmap, though the lack of HDTV content from Spanish-language broadcasters is slowing that effort.

DirecTV

Subscribers: 16.3 million

Contacts: John de Armas, VP, WorldDirect, DirecTV, (212) 462-5129

Hispanic Packages: There are several DirecTV Más packages beginning with least expansive Básico, which delivers more than 60 channels, including more than 40 Spanish-language broadcasters, channels and SAP feeds for $29.99; more expensive tiers include over 55 Spanish-language channels.

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Doesn’t offer VOD or high-speed data services. But video packages sold and bundled with phone and DSL services by telco partners offer a variety of Hispanic-targeted bundles.

Major Hispanic Markets: Has a national footprint; offers local broadcasters, including Spanish broadcasters in many markets.

Recent and Future Moves: DirecTV launched a package of Spanish language programming over a decade ago but didn’t focus on the market and lagged behind Dish. As part of a plan to more aggressively target Hispanic consumers and to grab market share from Dish, DirecTV launched a low-priced, revamped package in February 2004 and has since been adding channels, targeting underserved Hispanic groups and beefing up its ties to retailers. In the last year, the package was rebranded from Para Todos to DirecTV Más and it has expanded its marketing and customer service efforts. In terms of new programming, the platform is now focusing more on quality than on quantity and has begun negotiations with programmers for Spanish-language HD content as part of a larger push to be the industry leader in HDTV.

EchoStar Communications

Basic Subscribers: 13.6 million

Hispanic packages: DishLatino (an all-Spanish-language option with entry level package of over 35 Spanish-language services for $24.99 or $29.99 with local broadcast stations; a variety of other tiers with more Spanish and English channels are available.)

Contacts: Carolina Padilla, director of multicultural marketing, (720) 514-5550, Carolina.padilla@echostar.com

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: No VOD but offers a Spanish-language pay-per-view channel where subscribers can purchase movies for $3.99; telco partners bundle Dish’s video packages with their phone and DSL offerings.

Major Hispanic Markets: National footprint; offers local broadcast stations, including many Spanish-language stations in most markets.

Recent and Future Moves: Dish was the first multichannel platform to seriously target the Hispanic market, viewing the effort as a way to distinguish itself from DirecTV and cable, and it remains clearly the market leader, despite increased competition, with far more subscribers to its Hispanic tiers than any other satellite, cable or telco provider. To maintain that position, the operator continues to aggressively market its packages, work closely with retailers, and strengthen its programming, working to maintain a strong mix of movies, sports, entertainment, children and family oriented programming. It also works closely with its telco partners to develop and market Hispanic-targeted bundles and has developed a prepaid card offering called ¡DishYa! (DishNow!) that allows customers to purchase programming as they go without Social Security numbers, credit cards, contracts or monthly bills, requirements that have discouraged some from taking multichannel packages. In a recent promotion, some valued customers have been given a free-upgrade to a DVR. Also eyeing interactive TV and HDTV offerings targeting Hispanics.

Time Warner Cable

Basic Subscribers: 13.4 million

Digital Subscribers: 7.7 million

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 7.5 million

Voice Subscribers: 2.3 million

Contact: Lisa Stockman, VP of marketing, (203) 351-2013

Hispanic Packages: Brands used for Hispanic tiers, channel lineups and prices vary by division. Nuestra Tele is the most common brand, priced as low as $24.95 for 20 to 24 Spanish-language channels, local broadcast stations, a digital box and access to VOD; promotions in markets like Los Angeles make the Hispanic tier available for as little as $5 to digital subscribers.

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Some divisions have rolled out Spanish-language VOD content in addition to the SAP feeds in Spanish available for many PPV movies; broadband services have extensive Spanish-language pages; offers triple-play packages that are marketed to Hispanics; has also launched a International OnePrice calling plan that offers 3,000 free minutes to over 100 countries, including many in Latin America, for $19.95 on top of the cost of the phone service for anyone who takes two products.

Major Hispanic Markets: New York, New Jersey, San Diego, Los Angeles and other Southern California operations, Texas, and Carolinas.

Recent and Future Moves: The New York system rolled out a low-cost DTV en Español entry level package in early 2003; and in the summer of 2005, Time Warner launched a rebranded Nuestra Tele package that has now been rolled out in divisions that serve its largest Hispanic markets. Systems customize the lineup and pricing of the package to reflect local demos. With systems now serving three of nation’s largest Hispanic markets, Los Angeles, New York and Texas, Hispanics have become an even more important part of its overall strategy and the company is now looking for ways to better unify, coordinate and improve the quality of its packages, branding, programming and bundles, paying particular attention to the needs of its California, New York and Texas footprints. Has recently hired a new executive to spearhead Hispanic efforts and help revamp its offerings, and is looking for more VOD and HDTV content.

Cox Communications

Basic Subscribers: 5.4 million

Digital Subscribers: 3.0 million

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 3.5 million

Phone Subscribers: 2.2 million

Contact: Tony Maldonado, VP of acquisition and marketing sciences, (404) 843-5000

Hispanic Packages: Paquete Latino (up to 35 Spanish-language networks and 10 to 15 channels of English-language local broadcast stations and basic services for about $30); designed so local systems can customize the lineup and pricing.

Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: Paquete Latino offers access to VOD services that include an En Español Category; a number of Cox’s local systems are currently offering Spanish movies via InDemand, and the company tries to have culturally relevant programming for Hispanics in its PPV, free and subscription VOD offerings. In a number of markets, Cox offers bundles with phone and video that include free long-distance minutes to many Latin American countries; has also launched a very low cost international calling plan.

Major Hispanic Markets: Arizona, Central Florida, Southern California and Las Vegas among others.

Recent and Future Moves: As part of a completely revamped Hispanic strategy, Cox launched the Paquete Latino package in September 2004, and has now rolled out the package in 22 markets. A Spanish-language Web site launched in November 2004 and since then it rolled out high-speed Internet and phone bundles targeted to Hispanics that feature 60 minutes of free calling to Latin American countries for anyone who takes more than one product. Recently, Cox added a low-cost international long-distance plan that can be purchased without buying the video offering. Beefed-up marketing efforts are now focusing on the bundle, a strategic shift that won Cox a third-place award from NAMIC this year, and it has recently hired a new agency to make its marketing more culturally relevant. Plans to continue to expand Spanish-language VOD content and is looking for HD content as part of a bigger push to expand HDTV packages.

Charter Communications

Basic Subscribers: 5.4 million

Digital Subscribers: 2.9 million

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 2.6 million

Phone Subscribers: 700,300

Contact: John Figueroa, director, sales and ethnic marketing, (310) 971-4001.

Hispanic Packages: Charter Latino (digital box, access to VOD where available, local broadcast channels and as many as 24 Spanish-language networks for $24.99 to $29.99)

Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: Some Spanish VOD content, as well as SAP fees for PPV; has Spanish-language charterlatino.com; offers a wide variety of general-market bundles and in markets like Fort Worth, Hispanic customers can add the Latino tier for $5 to a $100 triple play package.

Major Hispanic Markets: Los Angeles; Ft. Worth, Texas; Reno, Nev.; and other markets with rapidly growing Hispanic communities

Recent and Future Plans: In August 2004, the company began the soft launch of a low-cost Charter Latino tier in some markets, and in 2005 added more Spanish-language programming, rolling out Charter Latino in its main Hispanic markets. Over the last year, local systems have continued to add programming, with Fort Worth adding TuTV in May, bringing the total Latino package to nearly 30 channels, including 24 Spanish language. Marketing efforts increasingly focus on bundles and in August, Charter launched a Worldwide 250 long-distance plan that offers 250 free minutes to over 100 countries for an additional $20. Executives feel the current lineup is very compelling, and the operator has no immediate plans to significantly increase the number of channels but is looking to expand VOD and HDTV as more Spanish-language content becomes available.

Cablevision Systems

Basic Subscribers: 3.1 million

Digital Subscribers: 2.6 million

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 2.2 million

Optimum Voice: 1.4 million

Contacts: Valerie Green, VP of multicultural marketing, (516) 803-2300; James Moore, director of international strategy and product management, (516) 803-4417

Hispanic Packages: iO en Español (38 Spanish-language channels including World Picks: a free Spanish-language VOD service starting at $4.95 a month for subscribers to Family Cable and above; $14.95 a month when purchased with broadcast basic tier, which costs $14.88, for a total entry level package of under $30).

Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: Offers Latino On Demand service and VOD programming from specific networks for a total of over 80 to 100 titles a month; has a growing Spanish-language Web portal for its Optimum Online data service; markets a variety of bundles for video, data and phone; offers flat rate plans for unlimited local and long-distance calling within the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, which has proven popular with the area’s Puerto Rican population; also has an Optimum Voice World Call, which offers up to 250 minutes of free international calls for an additional $19.95 a month.

Major Hispanic Markets: Greater New York City area

Recent and Future Plans: The Company expanded the availability of its iO en Español (iOe) along with other international services in late summer of 2006 to entire footprint. In the fall of 2006, it became the first major MSO to deploy switched-digital broadcast, a move that has allowed it to expand ethnic programming across its footprint. The company continues to look for additional linear networks and on-demand content, and in 2007 added a number of new Hispanic-targeted networks, including VeneMovies in January, V-me in March, NDTV – The Dominican Channel, Ecuavisa Internacional, Caracol TV Internacional and WAPA America in May, and Latele Novela in August. Between April and September 2007, the company also broadcast in Spanish 25 select NY Mets games free to iOe customers. Continues to seek additional content.

Bright House Networks

Total customers: 2.4 million

Contact: Steve Stiger, group VP of marketing. (407) 210-3156.

Hispanic Packages: Nuestros Canales (five to 18 Spanish-language channels, including Bay News 9 en Español in Tampa Bay Division, News 13 En Español in Central Florida Division, ESPN Deportes and as many as five Latino music services for $2.99 to $3.95 on top of the digital package of over 300 channels that also includes local broadcasters).

Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: VOD services are widely available in the company’s franchises, and offering includes both free and PPV Spanish-language content; Road Runner en Español high-speed data service offered on most systems has extensive Spanish-language pages for Hispanic customers.

Major Hispanic Markets: Florida.

Recent and Future Moves: In the last two years has added News 13 en Español (linear and On Demand), ESPN Deportes, Español Movies on Demand, International Movies on Demand, and WMFE-V-me, a Spanish-language HD channel.

Suddenlink Communications

Basic Subscribers: 1.4 million

Contact: Mary Meier, senior VP of marketing, (314) 965-2020

Hispanic Packages: Conexión Única (Includes over 30 Spanish-language channels for $21, in the West Texas markets, and $29.99 or $37.95 with HBO in most of the other markets)

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Offers Spanish VOD; has offered some bundles with high-speed Internet and video targeting Hispanics.

Major Hispanic Markets: Texas is the largest; Conexión Única is now offered in a total of 47 markets, including areas in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma and North Carolina that have rapidly growing Hispanic communities.

Recent and Future Moves: After closing its acquisition of the Cox systems and rebranding itself as Suddenlink, the company’s footprint includes some major Hispanic markets, particularly in Texas where it is the third largest operator, and it is now aggressively targeting Hispanic consumers with revamped offerings and extensive marketing. In summer of 2006, it rebranded the Hispanic package as Conexión Única and has since launched campaigns on Spanish-language radio and TV to promote the offerings. In 2007, rolled out phone service and plans to offer it in 80% of its footprint by the end of year; as phone services are more widely deployed may consider Hispanic-targeted bundles. Also planning to expand the Spanish-language component of its relaunched Web site in 2008.

Mediacom Communications

Basic Subscribers: 1.3 million

Digital Subscribers: 532,000

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 613,000

Phone Subscribers: 144,000

Contact: Italia Commisso Weinand, senior VP of programming and human resources, (845) 695-2600.

Hispanic Packages: Canales (includes 12 Spanish-language channels for $5.95 and is available on the majority of systems that have been upgraded to digital); customers must pay for analog package (which often includes some Hispanic broadcasters) and the digital box in addition to the Canales tier.

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: None to date.

Major Hispanic Markets: Nogales, Arizona is the largest, plus a number of relatively small Hispanic communities.

Recent and Future Moves: Hasn’t made any significant changes in the last year but Mediacom says it is always looking to add additional ethnic programming that fits the demographics of its local systems.

Insight Communications

Basic Subscribers: 1.3 million

Digital Subscribers: 661,500

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 674,900

Phone Subscribers: 177,200

Contacts: Melani Griffith, VP of programming, (917) 286-2300.

Hispanic Packages: Insight Para Tí (average of 25 channels, five English-language and 20 Spanish-language, for $10 a month).

Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: No specifically Hispanic-targeted VOD or bundles.

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: Over the last year, the company has not made any significant changes to the Para Tí package, which is now available in five areas.

Cable One

Basic Subscribers: 696,673

Digital Subscribers: 220,557

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 316,357

Phone Subscribers: 23,990

Contacts: Jerry McKenna, VP of strategic marketing, (602) 364-6000.

Hispanic Packages: Digital Español (a digital box, 10 Spanish-language networks, Toon Disney, which has a Spanish SAP feed, and the basic-cable tier, which includes local broadcasters, for around $42, in about 98% of its systems; priced separately at $2.49 on top of digital packages).

Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: None to date

Major Hispanic Markets: Cable One tends to serve small and mid-sized markets that do not have large Hispanic communities.

Recent and Future Moves: No significant changes to its offering in the last two years.

Verizon FiOS TV

Basic Video Subscribers: 1.3 million with satellite partners; 515,000 FiOS TV subscribers

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 7.7 million

Mobile: 60.1 million retail customers

Phone Subscribers: 43.3 million

Contacts: Bill Binford, director of programming, Verizon Communications, (212) 406-6706

Hispanic Packages: The lowest cost Spanish-language tier isn’t branded with a specific name but is available in all markets where FiOS TV has been launched; it offers 25 Hispanic-targeted channels for $11.99 on top of the package of local broadcasters for $12.99 for a entry level cost of about $25. The more popular option is La Conexión, which include the 25 Spanish language channels, and a total of nearly 140 channels for $32.95.

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Has some Spanish-language; Hispanic tier can be bundled with voice, data and mobile offerings as well as low cost international calling plans.

Major Hispanic Markets: New York, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, California and other markets

Recent and Future Moves: The importance the telco places on the Hispanic market is reflected in the fact that it launched a large Hispanic package of channels when it first began offering the FiOS TV product two years ago. The offering was available in all of the 3.9 million homes in nearly 500 communities in 12 states at the end of the second quarter. Currently the telco is focused on expanding the subscriber counts for the overall TV offering but plans to increase Hispanic marketing and refine bundles as penetration increases. In April 2008, if not before, it plans a major expansion of the number of Spanish-language channels and VOD content. Would also like to add more HD content but has been frustrated by the lack of HDTV production from Univision and the major broadcasters.

RCN

Video Subscribers: 355,000

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 270,000

Voice Subscribers: 248,000

Contact: Lynne Buening, director of video programming, (703) 434-8200.

Hispanic Packages: MiVisión (32 Spanish language video networks, some VOD, four Spanish-audio channels, and the limited basic tier of 20 to 25 channels for as little as $29.90 in some markets as well as the smaller packages described below).

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: Some Spanish VOD; video offerings can be bundled with data and phone offerings; offers a MiTeléfono low cost calling plan to Latin America, Puerto Rico and Spain for an additional $2.95.

Major Hispanic Markets: New York; Boston; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago.

Recent and Future Moves: After months of research and planning, RCN rolled out a radically revamped Hispanic package in September 2006 in Boston, Chicago, New York, eastern Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. The new packages, which more than doubled its Spanish-language channels, were designed to offer Hispanic consumers more choice, low-cost entry options and straightforward, easy to understand packages, Consumers can also subscribe to just portions of MiVisión offering, including Paquete de Variedades (a variety package of 15 channels) for $12.95; Paquete de Países, (six channels from different Latin American countries) for $4.95, Paquete para Niños (five children’s services) for $3.95; and Paquete de Deportes (four sports channels) for $4.95. These can be purchased on top of any package or alone with limited basic tier. Over the last year has added two channels to the MiVisión offering and in February introduced a MiTeléfono Latin American calling plan for $2.95. Continues to look for additional programming and has hired a Hispanic ad agency for a new marketing campaign that will bow in early 2008.

Bresnan Communications

Basic Subscribers: 296,000

Digital Subscribers: 156,818

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 159,500

Digital Phone Subscribers: 89,967

Contact: Jackie Heitman, VP of marketing, (914) 641-3300.

Hispanic Packages: Digital Economico (about 40 services, including about 20 Spanish-language channels and music services and local broadcasters, a digital box and access to pay per view, usually for about $26; a current promotion reduces this to only $19.99 to new subscribers). Hispanic tier also sold separately for $8 and the Classico, which adds 70 channels from standard tier to the Economico, costs.

Hispanic VOD, HSD and Bundles: No Spanish-language VOD beyond the SAP feeds for PPV and VOD movies; has Spanish language pages on the Bresnan.net site; offers a wide variety of Hispanic-targeted double and triple play bundles, including a phone bundle that offers 200 long-distance minutes to Mexico for an additional $9.99 and 400 free minutes for an extra $19.99.

Major Hispanic Markets: Tends to serve smaller and mid-sized markets, in four mountain states, and has rolled out the services in communities with growing Hispanic populations.

Recent and Future Moves: To capitalize on the rapidly growing Hispanic communities in its markets, Bresnan has been putting much more emphasis on Hispanic offerings in the last two years. After adding seven new channels to its Spanish tier in 2005, it rolled out double- and triple-play package for Hispanic customers in 2006. This year it has continued roll out the package to new markets and to heavily promote its Hispanic offerings with discounted pricing. For example, new customers can get the entry level Economico video package for $19.99 with one year contract and a triple play package that includes the Economico video package, 8Mbs high-speed Internet and unlimited local and long distance phone for $89.97.

AT&T U-VERSE TV

Basic Subscribers: 1.9 million, including satellite TV partnerships at end of second quarter, 2007; over 100,000 AT&T U-Verse TV customers as of September 5, 2007

High-Speed DATA Subscribers: 13.3 million

Voice: 64.1 million switched access lines.

Contacts: Dan York, head of content, AT&T Entertainment Services; Rob Thun, senior VP of programming

Hispanic Packages: Paquete Español (25 Spanish-language channels, plus Spanish-language broadcasters for an additional $10 a month)

Spanish VOD, HSD and Bundles: All U-verse TV customers have access to U-verse VOD library, which includes Spanish-language movies, children’s programs and events and Spanish versions of popular new releases; Spanish-language Web site, www.La-NuevaATT.com, offers product and company information; markets a variety of general market bundles that can be packaged with the Paquete Español and low cost international and long distance calling plans.

Major Hispanic Markets: U-verse TV services are currently available in such large Hispanic markets as Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, and San Diego.

Recent and Future Moves: The U-verse TV Paquete Español package was introduced with the initial launch of U-verse services in June 2006 and is available everywhere the U-verse product is sold. Since launch, the telco has been focused on launching its overall U-verse offering but as penetration grows it plans to more aggressively market its Hispanic offering and develop bundles specifically targeted to the Latino communities it serves. Additional AT&T U-verse launches in metropolitan areas within the company’s footprint are forthcoming, including a number of areas with significant Hispanic populations, and AT&T also plans on launching a Spanish version of the AT&T U-verse Web site. More Spanish VOD content, additional channels, and HD content are also on the roadmap.

SOURCE: The description of the operators’ packages, strategies and plans was compiled by George Winslow based on information from the companies. Subscriber counts are generally as of the end of the second quarter 2007, the most recent available at press time, unless otherwise noted. For space reasons the entries tend to list only the most inexpensive entry-level programming packages; virtually all of the operators offer more extensive and more expensive programming packages that include additional English-language or premium channels.