Estrella TV Expands With Broadcast/Cable Pacts

"Counterprogramming" Univision and Telemundo working for Spanish language digi-net
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Coupled with a handful of new affiliates, fresh deals with cable distributors Time Warner Cable and Cablevision in New York has the multicast channel Estrella TV in 78% of Hispanic households, according to the company.

Finalizing partnerships with WANN Atlanta and KOCY Oklahoma City, among others, Estrella has 31 broadcast partners, including stations owned by Hearst TV and Belo, along with eight O&Os held by parent Liberman Broadcasting.

"The station renewals underscore the growing popularity of Estrella TV, and the success of our counter-programming strategy which gives viewers a much needed alternative to the novelas that other Hispanic networks program," said Winter Horton, COO of Liberman Broadcasting.

Launching in the fall of 2009, Estrella will present its new slate at an upfront wingding at Gotham Hall in New York May 16, which will include a sitcom starring a big-name Hispanic comedienne, along with reality programs and performance shows. The programs are produced at Estrella's facilities in Burbank.

"We try to offer alternatives to the traditional Spanish language broadcasters," says Lenard Liberman, CEO of Liberman Broadcasting.

While Estrella is primarily a multicast channel, Liberman execs are in some cases going straight to cable -- Estrella also expanded a deal with Charter -- in an effort to reach markets where it may not have an affiliated station, or airs on a low power, as it does in New York.

With Atlanta now on board, Liberman says Estrella is targeting Philadelphia and Boston, among a few others, to complete its major market distribution.

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