Paramount to Launch Movie Channel in Latin America

Spurred by its success in Spain, France and other countries, Viacom Intl. Media Networks is launching its 24-hour movie network Paramount Channel in Latin America on Nov. 14.

To be available on basic and extended pay TV tiers, the new channel will tap Paramount’s 102-year film vault and some third party pics to fill programming needs. Lineup could include “Transformers,” “Ironman,” “Star Trek” (pictured) and “Mission: Impossible” franchises depending on rights negotiations.

Carlos Penzini leads the new channel as brand manager while continuing his current duties as senior VP of strategy and business development, Viacom Intl. Media Networks The Americas. Penzini has been instrumental in the unit’s aggressive expansion strategy, leading multiple channel launches, new market assessments and strategic partnerships.

Paramount Channel Latin America will be joining a plethora of studio-owned pan-regional channels led by Fox, a general entertainment channel, which topped the Ibope Pan Regional rankings with a 0.65% average rating among pay TV 18-49 viewers last month, up 29% compared to August 2013. TNT, owned by Time Warner, came second with a 0.41% rating and 151,880 viewers. The Disney Channel ranked fourth, followed by Warner and Universal, which ranked 10th and 11th respectively.

Paramount Channel’s more direct rivals in the region would include movie channels Megapix in Brazil, Fox-owned Cinecanal and Film Zone.

“We’re still in talks with MSOs and pay TV carriers but we expect to be launching with significant distribution, particularly in Brazil and Mexico, “ said Pierluigi Gazzolo, chief operating officer and interim managing director for VIMN The Americas.

Paramount Channel will join its sister channels MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Nick Jr. and Nicktoons in the region. “We needed to expand our core brands and test the market first before launching our movie channel,” said Gazzolo.

Channel will be ad-supported and feature thematic blocks based on franchises, big-name talent or genre, said Gazzolo, who concedes that the Latin American pay TV market is saturated and competitive but the Paramount Channel will be serving a growing trend in co-viewing habits where more families tend to watch movies together at home.

Pay TV growth continues apace. Brazil’s pay TV market is expected to grow 13.3% between 2013 and 2017 per the latest PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report.

Paramount Channel currently reaches 30 million households across Spain, France, Russia, Hungary and Romania. Spain and France reach around 17 million and 12 million households, respectively.

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