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Starz to Launch Spanish-Language Channel Encore Espanol

No. 6: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, 2010
Disney Enterprises Inc.

The network is expected to launch on Aug. 1 as the company also tweaks some existing Encore offers, making Movieplex its own discreet channel and rebranding Encore Wam under the name Encore Family.

NEW YORK - Premium TV firm Starz is the latest TV player to launch a service targeting the fast-growing U.S. Hispanic population.

The company's Starz Entertainment unit said Tuesday that it will add Spanish-language premium movie channel Encore Espanol, its eighth Encore network, to its portfolio of channels. It also announced a slew of tweaks to its Encore channel lineup, such as the rebranding of Encore Wam under the name Encore Family and the establishment of Movieplex as its own commercial-free premium channel that will no longer simulcast a daily rotation of the Encore channels.

It is expected to launch for cable and satellite TV operators, as well as telecom firms on Aug. 1 and will mirror the programming of the flagship Encore channel, which offers Hollywood hits and movie programming. Encore Espanol will broadcast in Spanish 24/7, uncut and commercial-free, the company said.

Movies on the network will include Alice in Wonderland, Up, 2012, The Bounty Hunter, The Princess and the Frog, The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 FuriousThe Bourne Identity, Gangs of New York and The Scorpion King. The company said it will offer recent and hit titles and leverage Starz's exclusive output deals with Walt Disney and Sony.

"Hispanic household ratings over-index on Encore in viewership by more than 40%," said Ed Huguez, executive vp, sales and affiliate marketing at Starz Entertainment. "We look forward to meeting the needs of our key multichannel affiliates for Spanish-language programming with a great new addition to the Encore family of channels."

Said Stephan Shelanski, executive vp of programming: "The addition of Encore Espanol to our collection of Encore channels helps bring families together to see quality movies at home, regardless of language preference."

In other changes, Encore Family will replace Encore Wam to "satisfy the growing demand for ad-free channels safe from objectionable content," the company said.

Also, Encore Suspense will be the new name of Encore Mystery, and Encore Action and Encore Drama will be available in HD, bringing the company's number of HD channels to 11.

Meanwhile, the new Movieplex will provide "even more variety...with incremental movie programming that strengthens each of the respective brands," the company said.

"Encore and its companion theme channels are the most heavily subscribed to premium services in the marketplace today, and with these enhancements to the lineup, we see a great opportunity to make them even more popular," said Shelanski.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai