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History Promo Targets Hispanics

8/18/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

The History Channel en español has enlisted a Latino star and popular magazine title to help affiliates drive acquisition during Hispanic Heritage month.

Jennifer Ball, the network’s vice president of affiliate marketing, said that Latino TV, film and music star Carlos Ponce will serve as the spokesman for the acquisition campaign that will coincide with Hispanic Heritage month, extending from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

Ponce will be part of radio ads, as well as promo spots and point-of-purchase materials that will be located at operators’ call and payment centers.

Moreover, Ponce will serve as an on-air host for the channel, which will introduce five new programs from different parts of the Latino world during the period: The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt (Colombia); Balseros (Cuba); State of Fear (Peru); Behind the Shadows (Mexico); and The Madness of Don Quixote (Spain). The latter three shows are making their U.S. premieres, according to director of programming Marlene Braga.

As part of the effort to drive acquisition of the service and suites of other Spanish-language networks, History Channel en español — which earlier this month launched on Cablevision System Corp.’s iO Español tier and was added to Cox San Diego’s offering — has worked a deal with Time Inc. through which customers who sign up for the programming service between Sept. 4 and Oct. 15 will receive People en Español free for six months.

“We wanted to present our affiliates and viewers with a strong incentive to get involved with the promotion, while providing them with some compelling new shows,” said Ball. As of last week, cable systems in 20 markets were on board.

On the redemption side, the arrival of the first issue of the magazine will be accompanied by a letter noting that it was part of the subscriber’s purchase of the Hispanic tier from their area cable operator.

Jeff Myers, manager of video acquisition for Cox Communications Inc.’s Las Vegas system, said the magazine incentive should appeal to three of the 19 different types of Hispanic households the cable operator has identified. “A lot of Latinos get information from magazines and we believe People en Español will appeal to homes with young families, and households headed by young Latinas and young Latinos.”

Carlos Morales, manager of Hispanic marketing for Comcast Corp.’s Chicago system, agreed, calling People en Español “a must-read” for many Latinos.

In supporting History Channel en español as part of Hispanic Heritage month, Cox Las Vegas will not only push the cross-channel spots and point-of-purchase materials at payment outlets, but distribute flyers and run ads in newspapers. Cox in Vegas offers 22 channels for $18.33 per month under its Pacquete Latino umbrella.

“We continue to expand our promotional mix, using different media and networks to appeal to this community,” said Myers, who pegged the Latino community as one-fourth of Vegas’s population. He cited a recent direct mail initiative, which included a schedule of World Cup matches carried by ESPN and ESPN2, as a recent example of the operator’s ongoing acquisition efforts against this market constituency.

Comcast, which offers an 18-channel Cable Latino package for about $13 per month, is a major sponsor of an Hispanic festival that is held at the Chicago Cultural Center that attracts government officials, celebrities and media, In addition to signage and other acknowledgements, Comcast showcases products and services at the event.

Morales said trying to work with the network to have Ponce visit the Windy City, a market where about 20% of the population is of Latin descent, during that period.

September