Comcast to new launch Hispanic, African-American channels

Gabriel Miramar-Garcia ©RapidTVNews | 22-02-2012

As part of its NBCUniversal-, merger-related commitment to diversity in programming, Comcast has selected four new minority-owned independent networks to be broadly distributed on its cable systems between April 2012 and January 2014.
After a thorough evaluation of more than 100 proposals, Comcast selected four networks, two of which are majority Hispanic-owned, and two of which are majority African-American owned. The package will include two English-language networks aimed at Hispanic viewers in the United States.
"We are thrilled to work with such talented individuals to launch these new networks that will bring exciting and fresh content to consumers," said David Cohen, executive vice president at Comcast. "Comcast is committed to delivering programming that reflects the interests of our customers, and we look forward to integrating these great networks into our rich programming line-up."
In the Hispanic category, El Rey leads off. Proposed by Hollywood director Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa, the network is designed to be a general-entertainment network in English for Latino and general audiences that includes a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, documentaries, news, music, comedy and sports programming. The El Rey network will include programming that features Hispanic producers, celebrities and public figures. The network has entered into an agreement to launch by January 2014.
"This partnership with Comcast signals an important moment for the Latino community in this country – we are passionate about creating a wildly entertaining destination that we can be proud of by appealing to both Latino and mass market audiences," said Rodriguez and Fogelman, in a statement. "We engineered El Rey to address a burgeoning opportunity to deliver unique, high-quality and compelling content to a hard-to-reach demographic and are excited to bring more opportunities to generations of talent, storytellers and dreamers through this special partnership."
Also, BabyFirst Americas, proposed by Spanish language television veteran Constantino "Said" Schwarz, is oriented around infants, very young children and their parents, and emphasises the importance of early development of verbal, math and motor skills. The network has entered into an agreement to launch by April 2012.
"We are thrilled to partner with Comcast and commend them for recognising the importance of quality education for young children," said Schwarz. "BabyFirst Americas aims to bring the essential academic building blocks for Kindergarten readiness into the home, making it accessible for families all across the U.S."
In the African-American category, the Aspire network, spearheaded by NBA Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson, in partnership with GMC is dedicated to delivering "enlightening, entertaining and positive programming to African-Americans families," including movies, documentaries, short films, music, comedy, visual and performing arts, and faith and inspirational programs. Aspire will celebrate the successes, achievements and accomplishments of the African-American community and will launch by summer 2012.
REVOLT, proposed by Sean "Diddy" Combs and MTV veteran Andy Schuon, is devoted to music and pop culture, including music videos, live performances, music news and interviews and will incorporate social media interaction for music artists and fans. The network has entered into an agreement to launch in 2013.
Comcast made a series of voluntary public interest commitments in connection with the NBCUniversal transaction, one of which is to launch 10 new independently owned and operated networks over the next eight years. Of the 10 networks, four will be majority African-American owned, two will be majority American Latino owned, two will be operated by American Latino programmers, and two will provide additional independent programming. Ultimately, each of the 10 networks will be added on select Comcast systems as part of the digital basic tier of service.