U.K. Cable Giant Virgin Media Targets Spanish Speakers, Adds Two Atresmedia Channels

'Locked Up' show still - H 2016
Courtesy of Atresmedia

The group gets access to the growing number of Spanish speakers in the U.K. via the Spanish Viva package provided by the cable firm that is part of John Malone's Liberty Global.

U.K. cable giant Virgin Media, part of John Malone's Liberty Global, will include Atresmedia’s two international channels in its Spanish-language package Spanish Viva, making the Spanish company the first private network from Spain to penetrate the U.K. market.

The move comes just months after the Spanish network’s female prison series Locked Up premiered on English television on Channel 4's VOD service, becoming the first Spanish series to be featured by an English broadcaster.

Virgin Media sees upside from serving foreign-language TV fans, similarly to how U.S. pay TV firms have targeted Spanish-, but also German-language and other groups.

While the 2001 U.K. Census reported some 54,000 Spanish-born residents, Spanish migration to the U.K. shot up 117 percent over the past four years, with the Migration Observatory reporting 137,000 Spanish workers in the U.K. as of April due to massive youth unemployment and underemployment at home.  But many Brits have residency in Spain as well, with the BBC putting that number at some 760,000.

Two of the Spanish group’s three channels will be carried on Virgin’s Spanish-language package called Spanish Viva to further serve those consumers.

Atresmedia’s international presence has traditionally been focused on Latin America, where the group’s three channels thrive as the private European network owner with the most subscribers. But it has recently begun adding traditionally non-Spanish speaking territories to its portfolio, with Canada, France, Australia, Holland and Switzerland on its roster.

The group also launched its Spanish-language celebrity news channel, Hola TV, in the U.S. in 2014.

“We are very happy that for the first time our channels will be accessible in the British market, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the birth of Antena 3 Internacional,” said Antena 3 International director Mar Martinez Raposo.