DirecTV has stopped publishing its Más magazine, which was produced by Los Angeles-based En Español Publishing Group and at some point had a controlled quarterly circulation of 900,000. A DirecTV spokesperson confirmed the magazine is no longer in circulation.
DirecTV has been quietly implementing changes to its Hispanic strategy, including phasing out its DirecTV Más brand, and shifting creative work to the company’s DirecTV Latin America creative agency, Wing. A Hispanic-targeted campaign currently running on major Spanish-language networks asks consumers to drop cable and switch simply to DirecTV.
“Research showed us consumers really looked at the business as DirecTV,” Jon Gieselman, svp of Marketing at DirecTV, tells Portada in an interview. “[Más] was perceived as a separate product, but it is really not.”
Several executives in charge of the Más brand have been let go in the past few years, including John De Armas, Carolina Padilla and more recently Hector Placencia, who served as senior director of Más and WorldDirect until the end of 2011. “The Hispanic division at DirecTV is like a ship with no captain,” said a programmer who asked not to be identified as his channel is currently in carriage negotiations with DirecTV.
Latin American bonanza
To be sure, the company continues to deliver good news to investors, mainly driven by healthy (record) numbers in Latin America, where the company has been growing steadily to almost 12 million subscribers in 2011, compared to 5 million in 2008.
According to the DirecTV’s fourth-quarter results –which were released last week- the company saw a 16 percent increase in fourth quarter profit, mostly thanks to huge customer gains in Latin America, which climbed to a record 590,000 in the period, topping the high of 574,000 it gained in the previous quarter. “Gross additions were higher principally due to greater demand in Brazil particularly from the middle market segment, as well as from increased new activations in Argentina and Venezuela,” said DirecTV in its fourth-quarter earnings release. In a panel during the 2010 edition of Portada’s Latam Summit, Jesus Mata, Sr. Director Advertising Services, DirectTV Latin America, said that he expected Latin America to have a share of 45% to 50% of overall DirecTV’s business by 2020.
DirecTV Latin America owns approximately 93% of Sky Brazil, 41% of Sky Mexico and 100% of PanAmericana, which covers most of the remaining countries in the region.