By: George Winslow / Courtesy of MultiChannel News and Broadcasting & Cable
Facing OTT competition, traditional providers add streaming, soup up set-tops.
The 2017 edition of Multichannel News’s annual look at the major pay TV operators’ Hispanic strategies lands firmly in a new era, where traditional pay TV operators face a large number of fully developed over-the-top providers and virtual multichannel video programming distributors, from Sling TV to DirecTV Now to YouTube TV.
Picture Caption: (Multicultural TV Execs (l. to r., alphabetically): Luis Caballero, Cox; Javier Garcia, Comcast; Matt Lake, Altice USA; Marisol Martinez, Charter; Alfredo Rodriguez, Dish Network; Karla Sustaita, AT&T)
Not surprisingly, much of the action for Hispanic content has moved to the over-the-top and streaming space, with many virtual MVPDs expanding their Spanish-language channels and traditional pay TV operators fighting back with improved streaming options and next generation set-top boxes that provide a better user experience on TV.
While many of those efforts are targeted to the general market, they’re also increasing the amount of available Spanish-language content and providing streaming options better targeted to Hispanic customers.
For example, after launching Netflix last year on its X1 platform, Comcast added YouTube to X1 this summer, a move that also brings more Spanish-language content to tech-savvy Hispanics. Newer platforms such as X1 are also being better customized to the needs of Hispanic consumers with Spanish-language search and interfaces.
While this has dramatically increased the amount of streaming content available to Hispanics, much less activity is occurring on traditional TV platforms.
To be sure, some operators such as Altice continue to make major changes to their video offerings. But most have only been tweaking their lineups by no more than one or two channels, a trend that mirrors a larger general-market drive to streamline offerings and control programming costs.
Reflecting the growing importance of streaming video, this year’s survey of Operator Hispanic Strategies includes two listings. We have again compiled information on the major seven pay TV platforms; we’ve also included an separate, expanded listing of virtual MVPDs.
Video subscribers: 22.5 million
High-speed internet subscribers: 25.3 million
Voice subscribers: 11.7 million
Contacts: Javier Garcia, SVP/GM multicultural, Xfinity services, Comcast; Michael D’Emilio, executive director, multicultural services; Mildred Zdziebkowski, senior 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, multicultural 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 as well as dual English/Spanish audio feeds on select films; also has thousands of choices online in Spanish via the Xfinity Latino microsite and on IP-connected devices via the Stream app; offers a package of more than 200 live streaming networks available anywhere at any time that features many Latino networks, including all of their sports networks in Spanish (beIN Sports ñ, ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, Latin American Sports, NBC Universo, Univision Deportes) and kids networks (Vme Kids, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, BabyFirst TV Español, Primo and Kids Central); 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: Comcast, which was the first major cable operator to make a significant push to expand its Hispanic offerings, continues to focus on the segment, with upgrades to its overall platform that have been customized to appeal to Hispanics. Since launching a Spanish-language interface on the X1 platform in 2015, it has added a number of other major 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.
In addition to integrating the Netflix app into X1 last year, other developments include: the launch of Stream TV, a web app and a web portal providing access to live, on-demand and DVR programming at home or anywhere in the country; the deployment of nearly 17 million voice remotes since the spring of 2015; and the launch of YouTube on X1 during the summer of 2017.
Another ongoing focus is on-demand content. Comcast currently has more than “100 diverse networks” on the Xfinity platform and offers more than 16,000 hours of diverse VOD and online programs. From Sept. 6 to Sept. 17, the company made available hundreds of titles available free of charge in English and Spanish from premium, cable and broadcast networks as part of its Xfinity FreePass Latino promotion.
Video subscribers: 20.8 million
Contact: Karla Sustaita, director, diversity content marketing and revenue, AT&T, (310) 964-5000
Hispanic video packages: Lowest-priced offering is Más Latino (more than 60 Spanish-language channels, local channels, secondary audio programming feeds and English-language channels for a total of over 120 channels for $70 a month). Other tiers include: Optimo Más (over 80 Spanish-language and over 120 English-language channels regularly priced at $95 a month and currently offered at $50 a month for 12 months); Más Ultra (over 85 Spanish-language and over 150 English-language channels regularly priced at $118 a month and now available at $60 a month for 12 months); Lo Máximo (over 95 Spanish-language and over 245 English-language channels regularly priced at $187 a month and currently available to at $125 a month for 12 months).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Spanish-language on-demand content includes Cine Sony, Spectrum Deportes, Fox Deportes, Galavision, MegaTV, Univision, MTV Tr3s, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo, NBC Universo, UniMas and El Rey; 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 recently launched Venevision TV; continues to look for channels that will better serve its customers’ viewing habits and interests.
Basic video residential subscribers: 16.6 million
High-speed internet residential subscribers: 22.0 million
Voice residential subscribers: 10.4 million
Contact: Marisol Martinez, VP of multicultural marketing, (203) 705-0825
Hispanic video packages: Latino View tier (over 75 Spanish-language channels for $7.99 a month on top of any Select, Silver or Gold package); the expanded Latino View package now includes more than 30 HD Spanish-language channels.
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers the Spectrum Mi Plan Latino Triple Play (TV, internet and voice at $29.99 each per month with more than 130 channels in English and Spanish, of which more than 75 are in Spanish; thousands of free on-demand choices and free DVR for 12 months; unlimited internet service with no data caps with speeds starting at 100 Mbps and free modems; Voice includes unlimited local and long-distance calling to Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as the Dominican Republic and Colombia in New York City; the Spectrum TV App allows customers to watch up to 300 live TV channels and 25,000 On Demand TV shows and movies in the home and select content outside the home on mobile and connected devices).
Major Hispanic markets: Passes 9.2 million Hispanic homes, serving over 4.8 million Hispanic customers in Hispanic-majority markets such as Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and many Texas border markets such as Harlingen, El Paso and Corpus Christi; also serves Tampa, Orlando, Fla., and Reno, Nev., and emerging populations such as Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.
Recent and future plans: Charter continues to focus on adding more Hispanic and other ethnic programming to its multicultural lineup and on developing simple, value-driven offers targeted to the acculturation level of various Hispanic segments; also opened its first Spectrum Spanish-language customer service center in McAllen, Tex.
Basic subscribers: 13.3 million
Contacts: Alfredo Rodriguez, VP of DishLATINO, [email protected], (303) 723-1546; Alex Coward, general manager of Latino programming, [email protected], (303)723-1257
Hispanic video packages: DishLATINO Clásico (more than 180 channels for $47.99 a month, currently offered at $29.99 per month for two years); DishLATINO Plus (more than 190 Spanish and English channels for $35.99 per month for two years with DishLATINO’s current Price Lock promotion); DishLATINO Dos (more than 225 English and Spanish channels for $54.99 per month for two years with Price Lock); DishLATINO Max (more than 270 English and Spanish channels for $64.99 per month with Price Lock); also offers packages that require no annual contract and no 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 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: After becoming the first major pay-TV provider to launch a Spanish-language customer service app, DishLATINO has also unveiled a new Spanish-language user interface for the Hopper DVR and Joey and Wally set-top boxes.
In terms of branding and marketing, DishLATINO continues to build upon its “Sigue Haciéndola” campaign meant to be a celebration of the pride, optimism and cultural heritage of U.S. Latinos. The campaign features new creative starring spokesman Eugenio Derbez and can be found at www.siguehaciendola.com. Recent promotions include a two-year TV “Price Lock” or “Precio fijo garantizado por 2 años” across most packages.
Verizon Fios TV
Basic video subscribers: 4.7 million
Total broadband connections: 7.0 million (5.7 million Fios; 1.3 million DSL)
Residential voice connections: 7.1 million
Hispanic video packages: The two options are TV Mundo (200-plus channels in English and Spanish, including more than 40 HD nets for $49.99 a month for the first year) and TV Mundo Total (over 205 English and Spanish channels, including regional sports services and 40 HD channels for $54.99 for first year).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Offers a variety of Spanish-language VOD movies and television programming; has Spanish-language websites and online customer assistance.
Major Hispanic markets: New York, New Jersey and others
Recent and future plans: After expanding its two Spanish-language TV packages by roughly 100 channels, Verizon has been focused on improved bundles and making more channels available on its Fios Mobile app and other digital platforms.
Total residential and business customers: About 6 million
Basic video subscribers: 4.0 million (private company, SNL Kagan estimate)
Contacts: Luis Caballero, executive director of Hispanic strategy and marketing, [email protected].
Hispanic video packages: Offers simplified video product offering that allows bilingual customers to make any package a Latino package by adding on the Latino Pak to provide a lineup of both English-and Spanish-language programming; most competitive package is the Bronze Bundle with Contour TV, 100 Mbps internet and phone ($89.99 a month for more than 140 channels, VOD, TV everywhere, Latino Pak and unlimited calls to landlines and wireless in Mexico and over 30 countries). Local systems customize channels.
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 based on tier level; offers packages with 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 offers a two product bundle called Contour Flex Starter (with about 70 plus channels and high speed internet access with options to add additional channels and the Latino Pak). Cox also recently launched Panoramic WiFi, a next generation home WiFi system that is designed to blanket the home; the $9.95 a month Pano WiFi service includes a managed WiFi router, a pro tech install where the technician assesses coverage strengths so that customers have the option to add optional extender upgrades and an app that provides customers with real-time device performance.
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: In addition to launching a number of HD channels this year, and doubling its overall VOD offering last year, the operator continues to focus on the bicultural audiences by offering a diverse mix of both English-and Spanish-language channels in all tiers.
Cox has also added channels in the last two years targeting the total “Hispanic” market, with offerings that will serve Spanish-dominant, bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics. New channel launches include Venevision, with plans to add HOLA TV in November.
It continues to deploy general features, like voice remote in English and Spanish, smart search and the Contour app, that are designed to improve the experience for Hispanic consumers, and has been working to better serve Hispanic millennials.
Other priorities include strengthening its Spanish-language HD channel lineup and what it calls “passion-driven” programming for novelas, sports and movies.
The operator has also made a number of a number of general market upgrades that are proving popular with Hispanics, including unlimited calls to Mexico and 30 other countries; the $9.95 a month Connect2Compete broadband plan for families who qualify for the school free lunch program or who live in HUD housing communities; the launch of 1 Gbps broadband speeds; the creation of the nation’s largest network of WiFi hot spots, with more than 500,000 currently available; and the previously mentioned Panoramic WiFi offering.
AT&T U-verse TV
Video subscribers: 3.8 million
High-speed wired Internet connections: 14.3 million
Voice wireline connections: 10.7 million
Wireless subscribers: 136.5 million
Contact: Karla Sustaita, director, diversity content marketing and revenue, 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 per month); U-familia Latino (includes Paquete Español, local channels and select family-oriented channels for $64 a month); U200 Latino (over 360 channels, including the channels in Paquete Español for $98 per month); U300 Latino (over 470 channels including Paquete Español for $114 per month); U450 Latino (over 550 channels including Paquete Español for $149 per month).
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Library of U-verse Movies features thousands of hours of free and paid on-demand titles that includes Spanish-language movies, children’s programs and events as well as VOD content from four 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: AT&T U-verse says it continues to reevaluate channel lineups.
Altice USA basic video customers: 3.46 million
Altice USA high-speed internet customers: 4.00 million
Altice USA voice customers: 2.54 million
Contact: Matt Lake, EVP & CMO, Altice USA, (516) 803-2300, [email protected].
Hispanic video packages: In the coming weeks Altice will be introducing new Spanish-language TV packages for Optimum and Suddenlink customers that better cater to the Spanish-language populations the company serves, particularly in the New York tri-state area and southwestern United States. For Optimum, the refreshed Optimum en Español package will offer more than 50 Spanish-language channels, starting at $12.95 per month for subscribers to Optimum Value and above; for Suddenlink, the updated Conexión Única package will include more than 30 Spanish-language channels, starting at $10 per month. More details, including the new channel additions, are expected soon.
Hispanic VOD, HSI and bundles: Altice USA offers a variety of bundles that feature Spanish-language programming as well as other services, including international calling and high-speed internet service; has introduced a new low-cost broadband product, Economy Internet, which is available to eligible households in both the Optimum and Suddenlink footprints for only $14.99 per month; in the Optimum system, Altice USA offers more than 1,000 hours of Spanish-language VOD programming each month, with content from many Spanish-language channels also available for out-of-home viewing.
Major Hispanic markets: Optimum operates in 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; Altice Dominican Republic is one of the main telecommunications providers in the Dominican Republic with more than 4.8 million customers nationwide.
Recent and future plans: On the marketing front, the company recently launched an advertising campaign featuring soccer superstar and Altice ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo and previously ran a campaign featuring comedian and actor John Leguizamo, both of whom are popular with both Hispanic and general-market consumers. The company also provides Spanish-speaking customer service representatives to assist Spanish-speaking customers. Its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month includes a student essay contest where students write about a Latino, past or present, with whom they would like to spend the day; it also holds a separate but similar contest for the children of the company’s employees.
Courtesy of MultiChannel News and Broadcasting & Cable