In response to school closings sparked by Covid-19 outbreak concerns in the region, DirecTV Latin America and its partners have opened up their joint educational channel, Escuela Plus, to all DirecTV subscribers for 30 days, starting March 17.
Disney, National Geographic, Discovery and Torneo are among the key content partners in Escuela Plus, which is normally exclusive to some 10,000 rural schools in select countries that form part of the Escuela Plus social responsibility initiative. Uruguay and Washington-based technology partner Takeoff Media provides digital platforms to the program.
In addition, DirecTV and Sky are offering free additional content – 70 more channels from Sky, 91 from DirecTV – to their subscribers until March 31, to better serve the many people who are being urged to stay home to stem the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a youth-dominant region beset by inadequate educational systems, many Latin American homes have traditionally resorted to such educational channels to supplement their schools’ curricula. Discovery Kids has long perched atop the leading channels in the region.
“At a time when our customers need us more than ever for entertainment, education and critical information content, we want to provide additional access to more channels across the region,” said Melissa Arnoldi, CEO of DirecTV’s and Sky’s parent company, Vrio. “We are extremely grateful to our customers for their trust in us and this is a small way we are bringing important information, and hopefully some joy, to our more than 13 million households across platforms, as we thank them for trusting us to deliver the content they want and need.”
Escuela Plus is currently available in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Despite the relatively low number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America, local authorities have introduced preventative measures in their respective countries, some more draconian than others.
Colombia, for example, has banned all non-resident foreigners from entering the country and has closed schools until further notice. The 60th Cartagena International Film Festival (FICCI) ended up canceling on its third day. It opened March 11, with Werner Herzog and European Film Academy chairman Mike Downey in attendance, but wrapped on Friday, after further cancellations and orders restricting public gatherings were further reduced to 50 persons per event. Fest was to run March 11-16.