Disney to launch Portugese web in Brazil

Mouse announces DTH exclu with Latam DirecTV

RIO DE JANEIRO — Disney TV Latin America will launch its Portuguese-lingo Brazil channel in March or April.

Mouse House has announced a 10-year direct-to-home (DTH) exclusive with satcaster Galaxy Latin America’s DirecTV service in Brazil. Its Spanish-lingo channel, which bowed in Latin America on July 27, also has a 10-year DTH exclusive with Galaxy.

While featuring Disney programming such as animation and movies, the new channel will have a Brazilian flavor.

“Locally produced shows will initially account for 15% of the programming and could eventually be more,” Disney’s veepee of creative John Begert told Daily Variety. He added that Disney is in the process of hiring local production outfits.

Disney is already co-producing in Mexico and Argentina to give its northern and southern Spanish-lingo feeds a more localized feel. Galaxy Brasil will initially offer the channel on its basic package during a brief promo period, after which it will be sold as premium or “a la carte.”

Galaxy execs expect Disney Latino to play an important role in its drive to pull ahead in the DTH race in Brazil. Galaxy claims to have about 440,000 subs to DirecTV in Brazil, while rival NetSat’s Sky reported 555,000 subs at the end of June.

“We will be the market leader in Brazil by mid next year,” Galaxy Latin America’s senior vice president Milton Torres told Variety.

In Spanish-speaking countries, the Disney Latino net is being marketed to cablers as a premium channel by the HBO Latin America Group, which has distrib rights. Mouse House execs said they are in talks with HBO, as well as with local operators. They did not rule out an agreement with cabler GloboCabo, an Organizacoes Globo subsid that has 75% of the country’s cable subs.

Among broadcasters, Disney has been a partner of Sistema Brasileiro de Televisao (SBT), the No. 2 broadcaster after TV Globo.

(Mary Sutter in Miami contributed to this report.)

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