Prisa to Launch Latin American Cable Channel

Juan Luis Cebrián, CEO of Spain’s Grupo Prisa, said in an interview to Spanish journalist association FAPE that his company intends to launch a new global TV channel, with lower costs than the recently closed CNN+, which will be broadcast via cable to Latin America and Spain.

He explained that he was not able to talk about the launch date yet because the new cable channel was still in the planning phase. Cebrián added that Prisa already owns a 24-hour news channel in Portugal that is broadcast to other Portuguese-speaking countries.

Prisa last week announced that it will reduce its worldwide staff by 18%. For an in-depth read on the implications of this decision, read our analysis piece Liberty takes charge. Cebrián said that 500 of the 2,500 employees that will be let go will be U.S. and Latin American based employees. 2,000 positions will be cut in Spain.

Cebrián explained the job cuts because of a necessary transformation to adapt the company to a XXI century media firm: “The digital era demands an economy driven by demand, while media properties still are stalled in a supply driven economy.”

The Latin World

Cebrián also spoke about opportunities for Spanish-language media companies in the global Latin market.

“What do Spanish-language media have that others miss? Hispanicity. We operate in a market of almost 500 million people, 45 of them are based in the United States, the world’s first economy. This is a unique opportunity, which contrary to Brazil, we are not taking advantage of. Brazilians want to be the main power in South America. To achieve that goal, they need to speak Spanish. That is why 15 million Brazilians learn Spanish in school. Spanish-language media have the problems affecting most media properties, but some advantages. We have global market of Spanish-speakers. Of course a medium sized media company will not be able to meet the challenge. Only one, two or three groups will be successful.”, Cebrián concluded.

Investors interested in Latin America -“Selling Latin America”

Cebrián also explained the agreement with Liberty and emphasized the importance the Latin American continent had to reach the agreement. “To find capital that wants to invest in mass media in the midst of this hullabaloo is not an easy task, even less so in Spain. To get investors attention, we have not suggested Spain, we have sold them the idea of Latin America”.