Major changes are on the way for the Hispanic multichannel TV business , but for once, much of the action is occurring outside the TV screen and pay-TV video offerings.
So far this year channel lineups have remained relatively stable, with most major operators adding only two or three new Spanish-language outlets to their regular TV offerings. However, big changes have been taking place on TV Everywhere platforms, where all the major operators are pushing to make additional Spanish-language networks available for live streaming on smartphones, tablets and other digital platforms.
Improved international calling plans to Mexico and other Latin American markets were also a major priority for operators this year, along with sports and HD channels.
Even bigger changes were going on in boardrooms. Six of the top 10 operators profiled here have recently completed mergers or are in the process of trying to get regulatory approval for deals. Over the next year, that will likely produce some changes in the executives who manage those offerings. AT&T and DirecTV, which recently completed their merger, both declined to comment on who is overseeing their Hispanic strategies.
In addition, consolidation will produce some fundamental changes in the structure of the industry. On one hand these newly consolidated operators will be serving more Hispanics, making this rapidly growing group even more important to their future; on the other, it will give these MVPDs more clout over programmers, reducing some of their already limited carriage options in 2016 and beyond.
Unless otherwise noted, subscriber counts are for the second quarter of 2015.
Video subscribers: 22.3 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 22.5 million
Voice subscribers: 11.3 million
Contacts: Javier Garcia, VP and GM, multi cultural services; Michael D’Emilio, executive director, multicultural services; Mildred Zdziebkowski, senior manager, multicultural services; Justin Smith, senior VP, content acquisition; Andrew Brayford, executive director, content acquisition; Jose Velez Silva, executive director, multicultural marketing communications; Lucia Rodriguez, senior director, multicultural marketing; Debbie Frey, director, corporate communications; main phone: (215) 665-1700.
Hispanic video packages: Xfinity TV Latino (depending on the package, about 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 Xfinity Latino microsite and on IP-connected devices via the Xfinity TV Go app; a package of 90-plus channels available for live streaming anywhere at anytime has many Latino networks, including sports networks in Spanish (beIN Sports en Español, ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, Latin American Sports, NBC Universo, Univision Deportes); various Xfinity Latino double-and triple-play packages available; no contracts 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, Calif.; 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, Comcast has launched a Spanish-language interface on the X1 platform and added a number of other features, including SAP and Spanish-language content filters as part of a larger effort to more deeply integrate Latino programming into the X1 experience. The company plans to update voice remote to recognize commands in Spanish. Also in the last year, it has added unlimited calls to Mexico for voice customers and has added a number of new Spanish-language channels to its streaming offerings.
Recent promotions included the Xfinity Freeview Latino in September, which offered free access to more than 3,500 hours and more than 5,000 on-demand content choices in Spanish and English from premium, cable and broadcast networks.
In programming, Comcast offered expanded multiplatform access to the Copa America, Gold Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup and has added new networks.
Basic subscribers: 20.4 million (Q1 2015)
Hispanic video packages: Lowest-priced offering is Más Latino (more than 50 Spanish-language channels, local broadcasters , secondary audio programming feeds and English-language channels for a total of 115-plus channels for $36.99, currently promoted at $24.99 for first year); also offers Optimo Más (more than 70 Spanish-language and 115 English-language channels); Más Ultra (over 75 Spanish-language and 150-plus English-language channels); and Lo Maximo (more than 90 Spanish-language and over 240 English-language channels).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Spanish-language on-demand content includes versions of new-release movies titles, Univision On Demand, MTV Tr3s ESPN Deportes, Disney Channel, Sprout and Nickelodeon; 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 channel lineup, with new Spanish-language channels including Atres Series and additional SAP offerings. The satellite TV provider also offers all NFL games in Spanish via SAP. Current promotions include: $35-per-month discount on Óptimo Más for first year; $42 discount on the Más Ultra package of more than 230 English and Spanish-language channels; and $42 discount on the Lo Máximo package with more than 320 channels.
Basic subscribers: 13.9 million
Hispanic video packages: Currently has a two-year TV “Price Lock” or “Precio fijo de TV por 2 años” offering (190 channels for $34.99 for two years; includes the Hopper DVR and one-year of Netflix with 225 available channels for an additional $15 a month and 270 channels for an extra $25 a month); DishLatino Clásico (more than 180 channels for $39.99 a month, currently being promoted for $19.99 for the first 12 months); Dish Latino Plus (more than 190 Spanish and English channels for $44.99 a month, currently being promoted for $19.99 for first 12 months); DishLatino Dos (more than 225 English and Spanish channels for $59.99 a month, currently promoted at $29.99 for first 12 months); DishLatino Max (more than 270 English and Spanish channels for $69.99 a month, currently promoted for $39.99 for first 12 months); also has various “FlexTV,” packages that don’t require a contract or credit check.
Hispanic VOD, 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 a growing amount of Spanish-language content; the Hopper with Sling allows users to access live streams of all channels and DVR-recorded content on IP-connected devices in and out of the home.
Major Hispanic markets: National footprint with local broadcast stations available in most markets.
Recent and future plans: Dish was the first multichannel provider to seriously target the Hispanic market, and it continues to have the largest subscriber base for Hispanic packages. Over the last year, it launched a campaign with its first celebrity spokesperson, Eugenio Derbez, and rolled out Zona Fútbol, which offers a multichannel view so that subscribers can watch up to six games at once. Dish has built a large lineup of soccer channels and is offering more than 1,000 games this year. It has added a social media app that displays tweets about major soccer events and trends to the right of the viewer’s screen. Fans can also use the app to sign in to their own Twitter account and follow the feed while watching a game.
Recent promotions included the price lock guarantee for two years described above and a number of other discounts, including two packages that cost $19.99 a month for the first 12 months.
Also this year, Dish has added Caracol Internacional, El Rey Network (English), Antena 3 and beIN Sports en Español in HD.
Future priorities include more sports, particularly soccer.
Time Warner Cable
Basic subscribers: 10.8 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 12.2 million
Voice subscribers: 5.9 million
Contact: Marisol Martinez, VP, marketing strategy, (212) 430-7251
Hispanic video packages: Offers several packages, but the lead one is El Paquetazo (65 to 80 Spanish-language channels for a total of 150 to 180 channels for $29.99 to $41.99, depending on the market.)
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Lo Mejor on Demand offers more than160 free Spanish-language programs ; Time Warner is expanding Spanish -language offerings on its TV Everywhere offerings; operator has a variety of triple-play packages that are marketed to Hispanics.
Major Hispanic markets: New York; San Diego, Los Angeles and other Southern California operations; Texas; the Carolinas; serves DMAs where about 47% of all U.S. Hispanics reside.
Recent and future plans: The main Hispanic package, El Paquetazo, launched bin 2008 in Los Angeles and is now available in the company’s major Hispanic markets. Time Warner continues to work to expand TV Everywhere offers, with 40 Spanish-language channels available as part of a larger group of 300 channels on its apps; social media efforts and improved bundles are also top priorities.
The company continues to make improvements to its voice product, which offers unlimited calls to anywhere in the U.S. and to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and most of Europe. It also recently launched the Phone2Go app, which allows customers to access their TWC phone service on the go with an iOS or Android mobile phone or tablet over a WiFi or cellular data connection—a feature the company believes will be particularly appealing to Hispanics, who tend to be heavy mobile users.
TWC also continues to distribute Nexos Latinos magazine, its quarterly lifestyle publication for subscribers.
Basic video subscribers: 6.0 million
High-speed wired Internet connections: 16.0 million
Voice wireline connections: 23.5 million
Wireless subscribers: 123.9 million
Hispanic video packages: Paquete Español (more than 60 channels for $15 a month on top of any U-verse TV programming tier); also offers “U200 Latino” (over 420 channels , including the channels in Paquete Español for $90 per month); U300 Latino (over 530 channels including Paquete Español for $105 per month); U450 Latino (over 600 channels including Paquete Español for $137 per month); customers who order U200, U300 and U450 can add Paquete Español for $10.
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: U-verse Movies library offers thousands of hours of free and paid on-demand titles including Spanish-language movies, children’s programs and events as well as VOD content from five Spanish-language networks ; has 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; 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., Atlanta; 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: Over the last year, the telco continued to tweak its programming with the addition of PXTV and BabyFirst TV en Español and is paying particular attention to the expansion of HD channels.
Another major focus is the expansion of live streaming networks available on multiple digital platforms as part of TV Everywhere efforts; currently, the U-verse TV Everywhere applications offer more than 250 networks available in-home for its authenticated offering, of which 210-plus are available for out-of-home viewing. That lineup includes live streaming channels of 30 Spanish-language networks in-home and 16 out-of-home as part of TV Everywhere offerings.
Recent promotions included a free preview of Paquete Español to all U-verse customers from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. On Oct. 4, the company launched a new U-verse Voice offer that allows for unlimited calls to Mexico for $35 a month as part of its North America Unlimited plan.
Verizon FiOS TV
Basic video subscribers: 5.8 million
Total broadband connections: 9.2 million
Wireless connections: 109.5 million
Retail residence voice connections: 10.2 million
Contact: Javier Farfan, VP of cultural engagement, (908) 559-7803, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hispanic video packages: Lowest -cost option is “Spanish- Language Package” (over 70 Spanish language-channels, including 14 in HD, for $14.99 per month, discounted to $7.49 for first 12 months under a current promotion, on top of other packages); more popular options are TV Mundo (over 200 channels in English and Spanish, including more than 35 HD nets for $49.99 a month in the first year); TV Mundo Total (more than 205 English and Spanish channels, including over 40 in HD for $54.99 for first year).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Verizon offers a variety of Spanish-language VOD movies and television programming; current promotions include a triple play offering of FiOS TV Mundo, 50Mbps high speed internet and phone service plus a $300 prepaid debit card for $79.99 monthly with a two year contract); has Spanish-language websites and Spanish-language online customer assistance.
Major Hispanic markets: New York, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, California and other markets.
Recent and future plans: After building up an Hispanic video offering with one of the largest channel counts in the industry, the telco has been working to expand those offerings to Web and mobile platforms, adding 12 Hispanic channels in August to its FiOS Mobile app.
Total residential and business customers: About 6 million
Basic video subscribers: 4.3 million (SNL Kagan estimate)*
Contacts: Luis Caballero, executive director of Hispanic marketing, Luis.Caballero2@cox.com
Hispanic video packages: Paquete Latino (about 40 Spanish-language networks and a total of 180-plus channels for $29.99 to $31.99); El Mix (about 40 Spanish-language networks and over 260 total channels for $34.99 to $49.99); Super Mix (40 Spanish-language and over 280 total channels, VOD, Cox TV online, for $84); local systems customize channels and pricing.
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers a variety of English- and Spanish-language movies, music and other TV programming on-demand; has a variety of bundles, including a current $90 triple play offering for 12 months and other lower-cost high-speed data and voice deals; low-cost long distance offerings include unlimited calls to landlines in Mexico.
Major Hispanic markets: Markets Hispanic offerings across its entire footprint, with the largest concentrations in Arizona, Southern California and Las Vegas.
Recent and future moves: Cox focuses on the bicultural movement by offering a diverse mix of English- and Spanish-language channels with El Mix and Super Mix.
The company has added channels in last two years with offerings that serve Spanish-dominant, bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics.
Cox is working to expand its Spanish-language VOD packages and to better serve Hispanic millennials. The company also is focusing on improving its Spanish-language HD channel lineup with planned launches of ESPN Deportes and Fox Deportes this fall.
General market moves that are proving popular with Hispanics include: the addition of unlimited calls to Mexico to long-distance phone plan; the Connect2Compete program, a $9.95 broadband plan for families who qualify for school free lunch programs; the launch of 1 Gig broadband speeds in 10 states; and the creation of the nation’s largest network of hotspots, with more than 400,000 hotspots currently available.
Basic video residential subscribers: 4.1 million
High-speed Internet residential subscribers: 4.9 million
Voice residential subscribers: 2.5 million
Contact: Joe Leonard, senior VP, marketing and creative strategy, (203) 905-7991
Hispanic video packages: The new Latino View Package (offers more than 65 Spanish-language channels for $6.99 on top of its TV Select, Silver or Gold tiers); the Latino View package now includes more than 30 HD Spanish-language channels.
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Has a growing library of VOD and TV Everywhere content in Spanish; the new Charter Spectrum Triple Play is priced at $29.99 for video (includes over 125 channels with Free HD, thousands of the latest on-demand choices and the Charter App that allows customers to view live TV anywhere in the home); $29.99 for Charter Spectrum Internet with speeds starting at 60Mbps; and $29.99 for Charter Spectrum Voice for the first year when all three are combined.
Major Hispanic markets: Los Angeles; Fort Worth, Texas; Reno, Nev.; as well as rapidly growing Hispanic populations in Tennessee, South Carolina and portions of Washington, Nebraska and Georgia.
Recent and future plans: Has gotten much more aggressive in the Hispanic market with new packages and bundles. In 2014 expanded the number of channels in the Latino View pack to more than 65, up from 45 in 2013, with plans to add more in the future. Over the past several months, Charter has launched a Spanish-language Charter Spectrum website and two new networks.
Basic video subscribers: 2.6 million
High-speed Internet subscribers: 2.8 million
Voice lines: 2.2 million
Contact: Keith Agabob, VP of video product management, (516) 803-2317, email@example.com
Hispanic packages: Optimum en Español (more than 55 Spanish-language channels, starting at $12.95 a month for subscribers to Optimum Value and higher monthly plans).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: More than 1,000 hours of Spanish-language VOD programming a month; offers promotions 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 more than 65 destinations.
Major Hispanic markets: New York City area, including the Bronx, parts of Brooklyn, parts of New Jersey and Long Island.
Recent and future plans: Optimum en Español, along with other international services offered by Optimum TV, has been carried across Cablevision’s footprint since 2006. In November 2014, Cablevision expanded its Optimum en Español package with the addition of 12 new networks: el gourmet, El Garage, NTN24, Buenavision TV, Televisión Dominicana, Centroamérica TV, Antena 3, Cine Mexicano, Pasiones, Atres Series, Enlace and EJTV. 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 provides Spanish-speaking customer service representatives as well as a customer web portal in Spanish, espanol.optimum.net. The operator continues to offer a variety of Spanish-language and bilingual marketing campaigns .
Bright House Networks
Total customers: Approximately 2.5 million.*
Contact: Stephen Colafrancesco, VP, marketing and sales, (727) 329-2910
Hispanic video packages: Varies by location; the Tampa Bay and Central Florida/Orlando markets offer Nuestros Canales (a Spanish-language tier that features 26 exclusive Spanish-language video and five audio channels plus Spanish-language VOD for $10, on top of other video tiers); Florida markets also offer a total of 49 Hispanic networks carried in various tiers of service; the Bakersfield, Calif. market offers Nuestros Canales (a tier that features 25 exclusive Spanish-language video channels and five audio, plus Spanish-language VOD for $10, on top of other video tiers); and TV Para Ti (a multilingual tier that includes the Nuestros Canales package plus Galavision and Telemundo, select English-language channels, exclusive Spanish-language channels and Hispanic Digital Music Choice); Bakersfield has a total of 58 Hispanic networks carried in various tiers of service. Mi Plan Latino (a Spanish language tier that includes basic TV service, Nuestros Canales and Hispanic Digital Music Choice) and Mi Plan Latino Plus (adds Standard TV services) are offered in both service areas.
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Bright House Networks offers Lo Mejor On Demand (more than 700 hours of programming from Univision, Galavision, Telemundo, ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes and others); double and triple play bundles vary, with the Mi Plan Latino Plus package (standard-level video service and Nuestros Canales) combined with HSD Standard available for $94.00 per month; Mi Plan Latino Plus with HSD Standard and phone is available for $112 per month; the High Speed Data service offers extensive Spanish-language pages for Hispanic customers; Hispanic-targeted Mi Mexico and Latin American call plans are offered in all Bright House Networks markets.
Major Hispanic markets: Tampa Bay, Fla.; central Florida; Bakersfield, Calif.
Recent and future moves: Bright House continues to work to improve its offerings, which include InfoMas, a 24-hour local Spanish channel with news, sports, weather , community news and other programming that is available in Florida on the digital tier. Recent channel additions include Mundo Fox in Florida and Bakersfield; six new Hispanic services were added in Birmingham, Ala., and eight in Indianapolis.
Sources: Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News research. Data collected by George Winslow from the companies and other sources in September. Subscriber counts are for the most recent quarter available, generally the second quarter of 2015 unless otherwise noted.
*Private company that does not release subscriber counts or break out video subscribers . Data listed are estimates from SNL Kagan.