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Cabler speaking Spanish

Cablevision to target over 4 million Latino homes

Tapping the New York area’s burgeoning Hispanic market, Cablevision is launching a new Spanish-lingo programming pack on its digital tier. The new service will feature 30 new and existing services plus the first Spanish-language video-on-demand option.

iO en Espanol will be available to cabler’s 3.8 million homes in the metropolitan area for an additional $14.95 a month. By the end of this year, company said, package will be available to Cablevision’s entire service area of 4.4 million homes.

Company said its package will be the most comprehensive array of Spanish-language programming offered by a cable or satellite provider.

DirecTV and EchoStar, which have made major incursions into Cablevision’s turf during the cabler’s spat with sports net YES, already offer Spanish-language tiers and international channels.

New service will include 26 new Spanish networks plus “World Picks: Latino,” a VOD service produced by subsid Rainbow Media that features 20 hours of continually refreshed Spanish fare from around the world.

In addition to existing U.S. Hispanic broadcast offerings like Galavision and Telemundo, Cablevision will add the Latin American versions of Discovery, MTV, CNN, Fox Sports and Cartoon Network as well as Toon Disney Espanol, El Gourmet, Puma TV, TV Chile and Mariavision.

Cablevision got a late start upgrading its subscriber base to digital; analysts estimate some 30% of its sub base (or 900,000 customers) will switch to the higher-priced digital service by the end of 2003, compared with just 7% at the end of 2002.

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