Latin launch set for Turner’s TCM

Buenos Aires will coordinate programming with Atlanta

MIAMI — Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Latin America will launch its TCM Classic Hollywood channel in Latin America in September.

TCM bowed Stateside 10 years ago, and the channel was introduced in Asia in 1994 and Europe in 1999.

TCM will be Turner’s sixth net in Latin America. It already operates the top-ranked pan-regional feevee Cartoon Network, as well as TNT, Boomerang and the news nets CNN Intl. and CNN en Espanol.

TCM will mirror the format of the net’s U.S. version, with its mix of classic Hollywood productions and series. Dedicated staffers in Buenos Aires will coordinate programming decisions with execs in Atlanta, said Rick Perez, VP and general manager for TNT Latin America and TCM in the region. General entertainment channel TNT reaches 13.7 million homes in Latin America.

TCM films will air without commercials and target a demo of adults 35 and over. Pan-regional feevee will dub programming into Spanish and Portuguese.

Despite the issue of capacity on basic systems in Latin America, TCM will not be a premium service, Perez said.

TBS has not inked carriage deals but is in talks with major pay TV systems including Sky, Perez said. “We may be looking at a digital tier. After the downturn in the marketplace, we see a strong recovery and some good growth prospects.”

TCM is the second new pan-regional channel to bow in Latin America this year. New nets are the first in several years in a region still recovering from recession and currency depreciation in various countries and the collapse of the Argentinian economy. Pay TV executives still anticipate some contraction in the number of channels.

MTV Networks Latin America bowed VH1 Latin America in Mexico on April 1 and will roll it out to the rest of the region.