LAS VEGAS (NATPE), MIAMI, and MEXICO CITY, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of MTV Latin America's 10th anniversary and a solid year of performance for MTV and Nickelodeon Latin America, MTV Networks Latin America today announces a multi-level business expansion plan that extends the MTV Networks brands throughout Latin America. These new ventures include: the launch of VH1 Latin America; the launch of the MTVN Digital Suite for Mexico; and a greater partnership with International Program Enterprises (IPE), the company's Program Sales and Consumer Products division. This holistic approach to the region marks the beginning of an aggressive, long-term business plan for MTVN Latin America making it uniquely positioned to respond to its consumers and the market as it evolves. "MTV Networks is known for the power of its brands and their unmatched ability to resonate with viewers," commented Antoinette Zel, President, MTV Networks Latin America. "As pay TV continues to grow, VH1 Latin America will fill a void for adult, music-based programming and as the industry transitions from analog to digital, our Digital Suite will similarly offer new, segmented content never before available to viewers. These new services and increased partnership across our channel, program syndication and consumer product businesses better positions us to give maximum value to consumers and clients," added Zel. Kathleen Hricik, EVP, International Program Enterprises, MTV Networks International noted, "Working in a cohesive way with our local channels adds a unique value to our ancillary businesses. It enhances our ability to super- serve our local clients with relevance and efficiency, by complementing our centralized expertise in NY with in-market expertise, on-the-ground marketing teams and a dedicated local infrastructure committed to exploiting our brands synergistically." VH1 Latin America In 2004, VH1 Latin America will join MTV and Nickelodeon Latin America targeting 25-49 year olds. The Spanish-language channel will be tailored for the market and feature a mix of music and entertainment with local and international-recording artists, as well as original programming. VH1 Latin America will launch in the 2nd quarter of 2004 with its initial distribution in Mexico via pay TV. The network will also be made available throughout Latin America with additional distribution to be announced. Further details about the channel and its programming line-up will be announced in the coming months. MTV Networks Digital Suite In addition to VH1 Latin America, MTV Networks Latin America enters the digital age in Mexico with the MTV Networks Digital Suite. The U.S.-based service is comprised of five channels -- MTV Hits, MTV Jams, VH1 Soul, VH1 Mega Hits and Nickelodeon's GAS -- and will be carried at first in Mexico with initial carriage through Cablevision on its digital tier. Additional distribution will be announced shortly. "Bringing our digital services to Mexico is a great way for us to support the cable industry's growth as it transitions from analog to digital," remarked Pierluigi Gazzolo, SVP Distribution, MTVN Latin America. "Not only will these channels provide viewers with a variety of music genres to enjoy, it will give Mexican viewers a unique window to U.S. entertainment which we know is of great interest to them." Program Sales In support of the company's already strong ancillary business of program sales, MTV Networks Latin America will be collaborating on a more strategic and operational level with NY's International Program Enterprises (IPE) division for the program sales of the company's original productions to broadcasters in the region. These sales include programming for MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Spike TV and Comedy Central. This development includes the appointment of Pierluigi Gazzolo, SVP Distribution, MTVN Latin America as the liaison executive for the newly collaborative relationship between MTVN Latin America and IPE and the promotion of Adeline Delgado to the position of VP Program Sales. Based in Miami, Delgado will have a dual report into Debbie Back, SVP International Sales and Co-Productions, IPE in NY and to Gazzolo in Miami. MTVN International has a thriving program sales business in Latin America which also includes Nickelodeon branded blocks on major terrestrial broadcasters. Current broadcast partners include Televisa in Mexico, Globo in Brazil and Megavision in Chile. Previously, Delgado was Sr. Director Distribution, MTVN Latin America. She joined the company in 1995 and handled both program sales for MTV and VH1 and affiliate sales for MTV and Nick. "Adeline is the perfect fit -- she has a long history with the company as a savvy negotiator and sales person and in fact returns to her program sales roots in this new position," commented Gazzolo. In addition, Gazzolo will continue to oversee New Media with a focus on developing new vehicles to expand our brands horizontally via wireless, ITV, broadband and online. Licensing & Merchandising In a move to accelerate the expansion of licensing and merchandising activities for MTV Networks' brands in Latin America, a Consumer Products office for Latin America is being created to support NY and Miami headquarters. An appointment to the newly created position, VP Consumer Products Latin America, will be announced shortly. "Having recently launched a similarly structured Consumer Products Europe office in March 2003 with positive results, we believe that increased participation of our regional channel operations is a natural evolution for our overall franchise management structure and essential to growing our business globally," commented noted Hricik, Nickelodeon franchises, "Dora The Explorer" and "SpongeBob SquarePants" have enjoyed recent success in Latin America. "SpongeBob" was named Globo's Toon of the Year in Brazil and retail partners for the properties include Office Max, Wal-Mart and VIP Restaurants. Since its debut on Nickelodeon's US channel in 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has been distributed to more than 135 countries around the world and is one of the hottest licenses in the marketplace today, generating more than $800 million in retail sales in the US alone. MTV Networks Latin America, Inc., a unit of Viacom International, Inc. owns and operates MTV Latin America, Nickelodeon Latin America, Nickelodeon Brazil, VH1 Latin America and The MTVN Digital Suite in Mexico, which have regional operations in Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Sao Paulo (for Nickelodeon only) and operating headquarters in Miami. MTV Network's IPE group is responsible for all international program sales which includes syndication, formats, co-productions/acquisitions and consumer products for MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. IPE currently has combined sales of Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central programming in 143 countries.
SOURCE MTV Networks Latin America