With the completion of a number of major deals over the last 18 months, including the mergers of AT&T and DirecTV and Charter and Time Warner Cable, the outlines of how these bigger pay-TV operators will approach the Hispanic market are beginning to fall into place.
Some of the biggest changes are in the executive suites. In contrast with last year, when some operators had yet to name an executive to oversee their newly consolidated Hispanic operations, several new faces now are guiding Hispanic strategies at Charter, AT&T, DirecTV and the former Cablevision systems owned by Altice.
Less dramatic changes have occurred in channel counts, though the impact of consolidation is likely to have a significant impact on the distribution of Hispanic programming. As in recent years, operators have generally been more cautious in adding new networks and are increasingly focused on refining their offerings to include higher-rated services and HD programming.
More notable changes can be seen in their multiplatform and TV everywhere offerings, with the amount of Spanish programming being made available on mobile or online continuing to expand and operators adding Hispanic-friendly features to their apps.
What follows is an overview of the operator landscape, with details about individual companies’ stature and strategies.
Video subscribers: 22.3 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 22.5 million
Voice subscribers: 11.3 million
Contacts: Javier Garcia, senior VP and GM, multicultural services; Michael D’Emilio, executive director, multicultural services; Mildred Zdziebkowski, director, multicultural services; Justin Smith, senior VP, content acquisition; Andrew Brayford, VP, content acquisition; Jose Velez Silva, VP, multicultural marketing communications; Joe Paz, executive director, multicultural marketing; Jeannette Castañeda, director, corporate communications; main phone: (215) 665-1700
Hispanic video packages: Xfinity TV Latino (depending on the package around 60 Spanish-language channels, including the Xfinity Latino Entertainment interactive channel; as many as 140 English-language networks; VOD; access to X1 entertainment operating system and cloud DVR; TV packages regularly priced at $27.95 to $69.95, less with promotional offers); channel lineups are customized for local demographics.
Hispanic VOD, high-speed Internet (HSI) and bundles: Has thousands of free Latino Xfinity On-demand choices at any time, plus dual English/Spanish audio feeds on select films; thousands of choices online in Spanish via their Xfinity Latino microsite and on IP-connected devices via the XTV app; offers a package of over 126 live streaming networks available for live streaming anywhere at any time that features many Latino networks, including all of their sports networks in Spanish (beIN Sport ñ, ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes, Latin American Sports, NBC Universo, Univision Deportes) and kids networks (Vme Kids, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia and BabyFirst TV Español); various Xfinity Latino double and triple play packages available; no contracts are required; voice includes unlimited international long distance to Mexico; Spanish bill available across footprint.
Major Hispanic markets: Passes more than 6 million Hispanic homes, serving such large Hispanic markets as Miami, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Sacramento, and Albuquerque, N.M.
Recent and future plans: After being the first cable operator to make a major push to expand its Hispanic offerings in 2003, Comcast has continued to devote significant resources to the segment and in the last few years has significantly revamped and expanded its offerings.
In 2015, the company launched a Spanish-language interface on the X1 platform and added a number of other features to the platform, including SAP and Spanish-language content filters as part of a larger effort to more deeply integrate Latino programming into the X1 experience.
This year, the Multicultural team launched Bicultural Kids Zone and added extras to Soccer in the Sports App with scores and real time stats. Currently they are also in beta with a voice remote system that recognizes commands in Spanish.
Other new developments in the last year include unlimited calls to Mexico for voice customers and the addition of new Spanish-language channels to its streaming offerings.
On-demand offerings also remain a top priority. Between Sept. 26 and Oct. 9, the Xfinity FreePass Latino offered more than 7,000 hours and more than 6,000 on-demand content choices in Spanish and English from premium, cable and broadcast networks.
Video subscribers: 20.5 million
Contact: Karla G. Sustaita, director, multicultural video products, AT&T Entertainment Group, (310) 964-5000
Hispanic video packages: Lowest-priced offering is Más Latino (more than 55 Spanish-language channels, local channels, secondary audio programming feeds and English-language channels for a total of over 115 channels for $67 a month); Optimo Más (over 70 Spanishlanguage and over 120 English-language channels regularly priced at $86 a month and currently offered at $50 a month for 12 months); Más Ultra (over 75 Spanish-language and over 155 English-language channels regularly priced at $105 a month and now available at $60 a month for 12 months); Lo Máximo (over 90 Spanish-language and over 240 English-language channels regularly priced at $174 a month and currently available at $125 a month for 12 months).
Hispanic VOD, high-speed internet (HSI) and bundles: Spanish-language on-demand content includes Cine Sony, Spectrum Deportes, Fox Deportes, Galavision, Mega-TV, Univision, MTV Tr3s, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo, NBC Universo and UniMás. DirecTV apps, and TV Everywhere offerings give customers access to content on computers and mobile devices.
Major Hispanic markets: National footprint with local broadcasters, including Spanish broadcasters where available.
Recent and future plans: DirecTV continues to strengthen its Spanish channel lineup, with additions like Multimedios and EstrellaTV to its national channel lineup. It also continuously evaluates viewership data and consumer demand to determine what kind of services U.S. Hispanic consumers want to have in their TV channel lineup and in their overall experience.
Basic video residential subscribers: 16.93 million
High-speed Internet residential subscribers: 20.67 million
Voice residential subscribers: 10.26 million
Contact: Marisol Martinez, VP of Multicultural, (203) 705-0825
Hispanic video packages: Latino View Package (offers more than 65 Spanish-language channels for $6.99 on top of its TV Select, Silver or Gold tiers); the enhanced Latino View package now includes over 30 HD Spanish-language channels;
Hispanic VOD, high-speed internet (HSI) and bundles: Has a new ‘Spectrum Mi Plan Latino’ Triple Play designed for Latino biculturals with TV, Internet and Voice priced at $29.99 each per month; packages includes 125 channels including 79 in Spanish and many HD channels for $29.99, free HD, free DVR for 12 months, no contracts or security deposits; high-speed internet of up to 100Mbps for $29.99; voice includes unlimited calling to Mexico, U.S. and Puerto Rico for $29.99; has thousands of free On-demand choices; the Charter App allows customers to view live TV anywhere in the home.
Major Hispanic markets: Passes over 9.1 million Hispanic homes, serving over 4.4 million Hispanic customers in Hispanic-majority markets like Los Angeles; San Antonio and many Texas border markets; major metros New York City, Dallas and Austin; Tampa, Orlando and Reno, Nevada; and emerging populations in Tennessee; South Carolina, Washington and Georgia.
Recent and future plans: With the revamped packages, the channel lineup includes top sports (beIN en Español, ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, Gol TV, Univision Deportes, AYM Sports), movies (Cine Latino, Cine Mexicano, De Pélicula) and country-of-origin channels like Tele El Salvador, TV Chile, Ultra Mex, Mexico 22 and WAPA.
Looking forward, the operator plans to add more Hispanic and other ethnic programming in the future to build, what it hopes to be the most robust lineup of multicultural content in the industry.
It is also beefing up its multicultural marketing and focusing on efforts build closer ties to the Hispanic community with products that better meet their needs, improved brand awareness, product education, social media work and direct response advertising featuring well know Hispanic celebrities like Gaby Espino from Telemundo’s soap opera Senora Acero 3.
Dish Basic subscribers: 13.59 million
Contacts: Alfredo Rodriguez, VP of DishLatino, alfredo. email@example.com, (303) 723-1546; Alex Coward, general manager of Latino programming, firstname.lastname@example.org, (303)723-1257
Hispanic video packages: DishLatino Clásico (more than 180 channels for $42.99 a month, currently offered at $24.99 per month for one year); DishLatino Plus (more than 190 Spanish and English channels for $34.99 per month for two years with its current Price Lock promotion); DishLatino Dos (more than 225 English and Spanish channels for $49.99 per month for two years with Price Lock); DishLatino Max (more than 270 English and Spanish channels for $59.99 per month with Price Lock); also offers packages that require no annual contract and no credit check.
Hispanic VOD, high-speed internet (HSI) and bundles: Spanish-language movies and television shows available on-demand to subscribers with set-top boxes capable of getting on-demand content; authenticated online and app offerings include Spanish-language content; the Hopper with Sling allows users to access live streams of all channels and DVR recorded content on IP-connected devices.
Major Hispanic markets: National footprint with local broadcast stations available in most markets.
Recent and future plans: Recently, DishLatino became the first nationwide pay-TV provider to offer a channel with content solely from Cuba, Cubamax TV and it continues to offer Zona Fútbol, a soccer-focused platform with a multichannel view that enables customers to watch up to six games at once; a game finder application helps them easily locate games.
In 2016, DishLatino continued to launch new advertising campaigns featuring spokesperson Eugenio Derbez, including a cameo by his wife, actress Alessandra Rosaldo. Recent promotions include a two-year TV “Price Lock” or “Precio fijo garantizado por 2 años” across most packages. DishLatino will soon offer customers a Spanish-language user interface.
Video subscribers: 4.8 million
High-speed wired Internet connections: 15.6 million
Voice wireline connections: 20.7 million
Wireless subscribers: 131.8 million
Contact: Karla Sustaita, director, Diversity TV Products, AT&T, (310) 964-5000
Hispanic video packages: Paquete Español (up to 60 channels for $15 a month on top of any U-verse TV programming tier); U-basic Latino (includes Paquete Español and local channels for $34 month); U-familia Latino (includes Paquete Español, local channels and select family-oriented channels for $82 a month); U200 Latino” (over 420 channels, including the channels in Paquete Español for $93 per month); U300 Latino (over 530 channels including Paquete Español for $109 per month); U450 Latino (over 600 channels including Paquete Español for $141 per month).
Hispanic VOD, high-speed internet (HSI) and bundles: U-verse Movies library offers thousands of hours of free and paid on-demand titles that includes Spanishlanguage movies, children’s programs and events as well as VOD content from five Spanish-language networks; there are a variety of options for bundling U-verse TV Spanish-language packages with U-verse Internet, U-verse Voice and/or AT&T wireless services; offers low-cost international calling plans.
Major Hispanic markets: Los Angeles; Houston; Dallas-Fort Worth; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose; Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.; San Diego; Chicago; Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Detroit-Ann Arbor, Mich., and Atlanta, as well as El Paso and Corpus Christi, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Monterey-Salinas, Calif.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.
Recent and future plans: Continues to reevaluate channel lineups based on usage data.
Verizon Fios TV
Basic video subscribers: 4.64 million
Total broadband connections: 7 million (5.5 million Fios; 1.5 million DSL)
Wireless connections: 113.2 million
Retail residence voice connections: 7.38 million
Hispanic video packages: The two options are TV Mundo (over 295 channels in English and Spanish, including more than 50 HD nets for $49.99 a month for the first year) and TV Mundo Total (over 300 English and Spanish channels, including over 55 in HD for $54.99 for first year).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers a variety of Spanish-language VOD movies and television programming; current promotions include a triple play offering of FiOS TV Mundo, 100Mbps speed internet, phone service plus Starz and Epix for $69.99 with a two-year contract); has Spanish-language websites and Spanish-language online customer assistance.
Major Hispanic markets: New York, New Jersey and other markets.
Recent and future plans: The telco has grown its two Spanish-language TV packages by around 100 channels. It now bundles these expanded packages with 100Mbps symmetrical Fios Internet and is now offering them at a price point lower than its previous promotions as part of a larger strategy to offer Hispanics as much choice and value as possible. It also continues to make more channels available outside the home on its Fios Mobile app and is focused on taking advantage of all its different platforms to improve the customer experience.
Total residential and business customers: About 6 million
Basic video subscribers: 4.16 million (Strategy Analytics estimate Q1, 2016)
Contacts: Luis Caballero, executive director of Hispanic strategy and marketing, Luis.Caballero2@cox.com
Hispanic video packages: Offers seven tiers starting with Paquete Latino, Contour Flex Latino, Contour Flex Economy Latino, Contour TV Latino, Contour TV Latino Preferred, Premier and Ultimate; entry level service is still Paquete Latino (about 40 Spanish-language networks and a total of over 180 channels for $27.99 to $37.99); newer options include Contour TV Latino (about 40 Spanish-language channels and a total of over 245 channels, VOD, TV everywhere for approx. $69.99). Local systems customize channels and pricing.
Hispanic VOD, high-speed internet (HSI) and bundles: Offers a variety of English and Spanish-language movies, music and other TV programming on-demand with plans to double VOD offerings in the fourth quarter of 2016; has a variety of bundles based on tier level, including a new promotion starting Nov. 1 for a $89.99 Contour Bronze Bundle (includes 12 months with Latino Pak for no additional charge and high-speed internet ranging from 50Mbps to 100Mbps in depending on the system); offers unlimited calls to landlines and wireless in Mexico and over 30 other countries; for customers more interested in high-speed Internet and video streaming it recently launched a two product bundle called Contour Flex Starter (about 70 plus channels and high-speed internet access with options to add additional channels and the Latino Pak.)
Major Hispanic markets: Markets Hispanic offerings across its entire footprint but has the largest concentrations in Arizona, Southern California and Las Vegas. Recent and future moves: Continues to focus on the bicultural audiences by offering a diverse mix of both English-and Spanish-language channels in all tiers and has redesigned its Hispanic Video offering so that Hispanic Consumers now have more tiers and options (in English or Spanish) to purchase Cox-tiered services with Latino Pak.
Cox has also added channels in last two years, targeting the total “Hispanic” market, with offerings that will serve Spanish-dominant, bilingual and Englishdominant Hispanics. Besides doubling its overall VOD offering later this year, it continues to generate features to improve the experience for Hispanic consumers, including the new Contour features like the voice remote in English and Spanish, smart search and the Contour app. Other priorities include working to better serve Hispanic millennials, Spanish-language HD channel lineup and strengthening what it calls “passion-driven” programming for novelas, sports and movies.
Finally, Cox has made a number of general market moves that are proving popular with Hispanics. Those include addition of unlimited calls to Mexico (landlines and wireless) to long distance phone plan; the Connect2Compete program for a $9.95 broadband plan for families who qualify for the school free lunch program or who live in HUD housing communities; the launch of 1 Gig broadband speeds; and the creation of the nation’s largest network of hotspots with over 500,000 hotspots currently available.
Optimum basic video customers: 2.58 million
Suddenlink basic video customers: 1.06 million
Altice USA basic video customers: 3.64 million
Optimum high-speed Internet customers: 2.85 million
Suddenlink igh-speed Internet customers: 1.33 million
Altice USA high-speed Internet customers: 4.18 million
Optimum Voice customers: 2.18 million
Suddenlink Voice customers: 642 thousand
Altice USA Voice customers: 2.82 million
Contact: Matt Lake, executive VP & CMO, Altice USA, (516) 803-2300, matt.lake@ alticeusa.com
Hispanic packages: In the Optimum systems offers Optimum en Español (more than 50 Spanish-language channels, starting at $12.95 a month for subscribers to Optimum Value and above.); in the Suddenlink systems offers the Latino Digital Tier (35 Spanish-language channels, starting at $10 a month).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: The Optimum systems offer more than 1.000 hours of Spanish-language VOD programming a month; also offers promotions for bundles tailored to the Hispanic community that include Spanish-language programming and international calling options, such as Optimum Voice International with international calling starting at 2 cents per minute to over 65 destinations. The Suddenlink operations also offer a variety of bundles with Spanish-language programming.
Major Hispanic markets: Optimum covers large Hispanic communities in the Greater New York City area, including the Bronx, parts of Brooklyn, parts of New Jersey and Long Island; Suddenlink operates in parts of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas with significant Hispanic populations.
Recent and future plans: Offering content across multiple platforms remains an important priority in the Optimum systems. All Optimum en Español channels are available for in-home viewing live via the Optimum App, with many available for out-of-home viewing as well. Optimum also has Spanish-speaking customer service representatives as well as a customer web portal in Spanish, espanol.optimum.net.
On the marketing front, Optimum continues to offer a variety of Spanish-language and bilingual marketing campaigns. In 2015, actor and New York community leader John Leguizamo became the brand ambassador for the Optimum Latino community. This year, his role was expanded to become brand ambassador for the mainstream Optimum market as well, and Leguizamo is now a voice for Optimum products and services across the entire Optimum footprint. Optimum also launched an Instagram account, “Optimum Latino,” which features posts focused on the Hispanic culture.
Suddenlink offers a variety of Spanish-language and bilingual marketing campaigns, as well as Spanish-speaking customer service representatives.
Altice USA also celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in 2016, with an essay contest throughout the Optimum and Suddenlink footprints that asks students to “Name a Latino, past or present, with whom you would choose to spend a day and explain why.”
Source: Data collected by George Winslow from the companies and other sources in September 2016. Subscriber counts are for most recent quarter available, generally the second quarter of 2016 unless otherwise noted.