ViacomCBS to Acquire Stake in Spanish-Language Content Producer

ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in the Spanish-language content producer Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico from The Walt Disney Co. and the founding family of Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico.

ViacomCBS International Studios’ VIS, a division of VCNI, will operate Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico as a collaborative partnership with the founding family. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Through this transaction, VCNI will gain access to Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico’s studio operations in both Colombia and Mexico, as well as many hours of library content, including premium series, telenovelas, films, documentaries, unscripted, kids and family, branded and digital content, and live sports shows produced for various audiences. This content will fuel ViacomCBS’s global streaming platforms including Paramount+ and Pluto TV, and its linear networks around the world, according to the company. Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico will also bolster ViacomCBS’ Spanish-language content production capabilities to capitalize on significant content demand in the region and worldwide, the company noted.

“The acquisition of Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico, combined with ViacomCBS’s existing Spanish-language portfolio including Telefe and Chilevisión, reinforces the company’s position as a leading worldwide producer of Spanish-language content,” Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO, ViacomCBS Networks International, said in a statement. “This content will fuel ViacomCBS’ global ecosystem across Paramount+, Pluto TV and its linear networks.”

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“This announcement is very fulfilling and I feel very honored that Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico will continue its expansion and growth in the hands of such an amazing company as ViacomCBS and its talented and visionary executives,” Samuel Duque Rozo, founder and CEO of Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico, said in a statement. “The extraordinary work that our team has made during all these years, combined with ViacomCBS’s vision, iconic brands, experience, professionalism, creativity among much more, will bring nothing less but the best for both businesses.”

Rozo will continue to exclusively support the business from a creative and strategic advisory position, and Samuel Duque Duque, current president, will lead the business. Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico will fall under the remit of Juan “JC” Acosta, President of ViacomCBS International Studios and Networks Americas.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Kartoon Channel! Gets New Spanish-Language Content

Genius Brands International has announced a new Spanish-language content service for children — ¡KC! En Español — on its streaming platform Kartoon Channel!

Kartoon Channel! also announced Oct. 5 that it is now available on Pluto TV.

With ¡KC! En Español, Kartoon Channel! expands its current  platform to serve the Latino children’s community in North America. The new Spanish-language children’s program service will reside on the main Kartoon Channel! platform and function as a sub-brand of Kartoon Channel!, similar to Kartoon Classroom!, which premiered in September 2020. The offering will launch with Genius Brands’ “Rainbow Rangers,” in addition to “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab,” “Mi Perro Chocolo,” YouTube’s “Spanish Tree TV” and “Stan Lee’s Mighty Seven.”

“Not only is this the right entertainment and cultural move for Kartoon Channel!, but it also makes good business sense too,” Jon Ollwerther, president of Kartoon Channel!, said in statement. “Today, 26% of kids in the U.S. under the age of five are of Latinx heritage, a number that is only expected to grow. Further, 83% of Latinx audiences are streamers, versus 73% of non-Latinx audiences. Finally, digital ad-spend focused on the Latinx audience in the United States has more than doubled from 2015 to 2020 and the market today is estimated at over $1.5 billion. We look forward to this becoming an important and growing contributor to the business of Kartoon Channel!”

“Following the success of our educational sub-brand Kartoon Classroom!, ¡KC! En Español was the obvious next step for us,” Michael Riley, Genius Brands International’s chief diversity officer, said in a statement. “We’re proud to announce this new offering during Hispanic Heritage Month and to better serve the Latinx community, now in English and en Español.”

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Genius Brands International’s digital network Kartoon Channel! is a family entertainment destination. Kartoon Channel! delivers  content across multiple platforms, including Comcast, Cox, Dish, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android TV, Android Mobile, Google Play, Xumo, Roku, Tubi, Samsung Smart TVs and LGTVs. Kartoon Channel! can also be streamed on TVs and mobiles device by downloading the app, or on desktops by visiting www.kartoonchannel.com.

Nearly Two-Thirds of U.S. Latino Spanish-Language Content Viewers Stream

A recent Horowitz Research survey found 80% of U.S. Latino TV content viewers are streamers, including nearly two-thirds (64%) of Latino Spanish-language content viewers.

Eight out of 10 (80%) subscribe to at least one SVOD service. On average, Latino streamers pay for four streaming services.

According to Horowitz, half of Latino households (49%) subscribe to both a traditional MVPD and at least one streaming service, with younger, multilingual, bicultural, family households the most likely to leverage both MVPD and SVOD platforms to meet their households’ needs, which includes demand for both English and Spanish content.

Six in 10 Latinos watch Spanish-language content at least occasionally, according to the study. Notably, viewing of Spanish-language content is as high among bilingual, bicultural Latinos as it is among their Spanish-dominant counterparts. And, almost one in three (29%) English-oriented, highly acculturated Latinos watch in Spanish at least occasionally, according to the study.

While traditional (broadcast and cable) used to be the main source for Spanish-language content, the Spanish-language TV landscape is transforming, according to Horowitz. The past couple of years have ushered in an explosion of Spanish and Latinxo-themed streamed content, starting with the success of Netflix’s “Narcos,” “La Casa de Papel,” “Elite,” “La Reina del Sur” (a Telemundo series) and other popular shows.

Horowitz noted Latino audiences can now access Spanish-language and Latinx-themed content across a wide variety of free and paid services: Peacock, with a selection of Telemundo content; Amazon Prime Video, which is making substantial investments in Spanish and Latino-themed content; FuboTV, offering Spanish-language sports programming; Discovery, which offers various Spanish-language mobile apps; Pluto TV, with free programming and channel surfing in English and Spanish; Pantaya; OnDemandLatino; and the new Univision/Televisa venture Prende TV, among many others.

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“Latinx consumers have long been underserved in the streaming space, but this is completely changing now,” Horowitz’s Adriana Waterston, SVP of insights and strategy, said in a statement. “There is a market for all sorts of streamed Spanish and Latino-themed content, ranging from traditional telenovelas to content that speaks to the sensibilities of younger, bilingual, bicultural U.S. Latinos. Importantly, much of this content will not only appeal to Latino consumers but other audiences as well.”

Latino audiences continue to value the benefits of traditional MVPD services when making their subscription decisions, such as accessing live TV content, watching television episodes the day they air, and having access to local, national and international up-to-date news coverage.

However, two in three Latino consumers surveyed perceive that the quality and variety of Spanish content available in the streaming ecosystem is as good or surpasses that which is available through MVPD services, which could lead to more Latino households becoming cord-cutters, according to Horowitz. The Horowitz survey shows that already 22% of Latino TV homes have cut the cord in the last three years.

“Latino households have been some of the most loyal customers of MVPD services, driven by the desire to have access to the most robust selection of both English and Spanish content,” Waterston said in a statement. “As streaming services amp up their Latino-oriented offerings, traditional players will need to find new ways to retain their value proposition among this audience.”

Paraguayan Horror Film ‘Morgue’ Arises on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 11 From Well Go

The Paraguayan horror film Morgue will come out on digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 11 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

In the supernatural thriller, after a harrowing accident, a down-on-his-luck security guard accepts a promising new gig at the local morgue. He gets locked in and eerie occurrences (and a not-quite-lifeless body) leave him to wonder: how much otherworldly rage does it take to wake the dead?

A huge breakout hit in its home country, the film is — according to first-time writer/director Hugo Cardozo — based on real events.

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The cast of newcomers includes Pablo Martínez, María del Mar Fernández, Willi Villalba, Abel Martínez, Dr. Aldo Von Knobloch, Raúl Rotela and Francisco Ayala.

Canela Media Launches Free, Live Streaming News Platform for U.S. Latino Market

Canela Media Feb. 9 announced the launch of Canela News, what it claims is the first free live-streaming newscast for the U.S. Latino market. The Spanish-language daily newscast will cover topics most relevant to U.S. Latinos, including breaking news, sports, immigration, and more.

On March 8, Canela News will begin broadcasting daily live 30-minute segments Monday-Friday at 6 p.m. ET and repeats at 9 p.m. ET on the advertiser-supported streaming service Canela.TV, which will also be distributed on free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels. There will also be a daily segment focused completely on sports. On Fridays, it will air a special five-minute segment called “Buenas Noticias,” bringing inspirational good news.

“Viewing habits of U.S. Latinos are rapidly changing as more of this audience shifts to digital platforms and abandons traditional TV,” founder/CEO Isabel Rafferty said in a statement.

Rafferty said that U.S. Latino cord cutters have heretofore been unable to get streaming access to the Spanish-language, U.S.-centric news.

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“There was a void in the market which presented an opportunity for [us] to fulfill,” she said.

According to eMarketer, in 2021 more than 6 million U.S. households will cut the cord with pay-TV, bringing the total number of cord-cutter households to 31.2 million. However, most streaming services are geared towards English-speaking audiences and tastes, with a smattering of content gathered from around the Spanish-speaking world.

Canela News is made with a team of producers and anchors delivering culturally relevant content led by Alejandro Medina, who previously ran the TV Azteca national newscast. Journalist and TV host Jimena Duarte will be the anchor for the Daily Newscast. René Romero, an international sports commentator and journalist with over 10 years of experience, will anchor the Daily Sportscast.

“We will continue to forge meaningful connections with our audience through our growing variety of high-quality content options,” Rafferty said.

Launched in May 2020, Canela.TV is a streaming service with more than 10,000 hours of entertainment for adults and children, including comedies, docuseries, novelas, cartoons, dramas and action films. The Canela.tv app is available for download on the App Store and Google PlayRokuApple TVAndroid TVAmazon Fire TV and smart TVs.

Samsung TV Plus Bows 10 Free Spanish-Language Channels

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Samsung Oct. 7 announced the launch of 10 free Spanish-language channels on its Samsung TV Plus platform. The ad-supported platform offers free access to more than 145 content channels.

The Spanish-language channels include content ranging from telenovelas, reality shows, comedies, news, adventure shows to modern dramas. The content from Sony Canal, Estrella TV, Pluto TV, Tastmade and Spike, among others, is also available on the recently launched Samsung TV Plus mobile app for download on select Galaxy smartphones.

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“Samsung includes a broad cross-section of cultural perspectives in our entertainment and content, so it is only fitting that we [add] channels to our extensive collection of Samsung TV Plus programing,” Salek Brodsky, VP of strategic partnerships & business development for Samsung Electronics, said in a statement.

AVOD distribution continues to grow as an alternative to subscription streaming video services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

Spectrum TV Plus Spanish-language channels include:

Estrella TV 1255: EstrellaTV is a leading Spanish-language news and entertainment channel with programming ranging from news to game shows, reality shows, talent competitions, and late-night talk shows.

Sony Canal Competencias 1259: The channel features contestants who aim to meet challenges in reality competition shows.

Sony Canal Comedias 1260: The channel features modern remakes in Spanish of TV’s most iconic sitcoms and comedy series, such as “Married With Children,” “The Nanny” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Sony Canal Novelas 1261: The channel features telenovelas and  dramas like Doña Bárbara, Paraíso Travel and Señorita Pólvora, filled with thrills, passion, twists and heartwarming stories.

Cine Romantico 1283: The channel features romance with Hollywood TV movies in Spanish.

Novelas Drama 1266: Pluto TV Novelas Drama features stories and situations full of intrigue, deception and mix-ups in drama soap operas of Latin America.

Novelas Romance 1267: Pluto TV Novelas Romance features stories of love and romance, watching the most romantic soap operas in Latin America. You won’t be able to stop watching it!

Spike Aventura 1268: The channel offers action and adventure to the most challenging competitions.

Estrella News: Estrella News is a 24/7 Spanish-language digital news channel, delivering relevant and breaking news stories and reports for Hispanics. Coverage includes local, national, entertainment and sports.

Tastemade en Español: Tastemade en Español’s diverse, ever-growing library of content spans the categories of food and travel with Spanish-language Tastemade Originals and series in English with Spanish subtitles. Programming highlights include food and travel series ArgenMexCook & Laucha 2X1Patagonia Viva, and the documentary Fuego, featuring Argentine chef and influencer Luciano ¨Laucha¨ Luchetti.

Plex Adds Spanish-Language Content

Plex, the ad-supported video-on-demand service, Sept. 10 announced the launch of a set of free-to-watch Spanish-language channels, with six available immediately and 25 more Spanish-language options planned in the coming weeks. This brings the total number of Plex channels to more than 100, up from the 80 the Live TV on Plex feature launched with in July.

The new channels include three from Sony Pictures Television: Sony Canal NovelasSony Canal Comedias and Sony Canal Competencias. Also included in the Plex Spanish-language lineup are Canela TVRuntime Español, Latido Music and AFV Español, with availability varying by region.

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In 2019, Plex launched an AVOD service via digital antenna and tuner TV featuring TV shows and movies from CrackleWarner Bros.MGMEndemol Shine GroupLionsgate and Legendary. The platform provides free access to local channels and major networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, the CW and PBS.