Estrella TV Inks Its Second DBS Deal


SANTA MONICA, CALIF. — Four months after LBI Media‘s Spanish-language broadcast network Estrella TV inked a new carriage agreement with the AT&T-owned DirecTV, it has reached a new multi-year agreement with DISH Network.

640x640_DishNetwork_ETV[1]An official announcement is due today (2/2) from Burbank-based LBI Media, which also owns and operates Spanish-language radio stations in its home market of Los Angeles, in addition to Dallas and Houston.

DISH subscribers that have at minimum the “America’s Top 200” package and/or DishLATINO Clasico package will be able to turn to Estrella TV, which has made its mark with family-oriented fare produced from its Empire Center media center, just miles away from Warner Bros. Studios, Universal Studios and NBC.

In a statement, Estrella says the second DBS deal allows it to compete more effectively in the marketplace and to build and broaden the network’s brand on a national level.

It also helps Estrella grow its national footprint as its frustrations with Comcast continue.

This involved a complaint filed by LBI Media with the FCC, which the Commission shot down in late August 2016. It was LBI’s contention that the Commission’s program carriage rules can be considered in its ongoing battle with Comcast over retransmission fees. The FCC ruled that Comcast did not discriminate against Liberman’s Hispanic-targeted Estrella TV network stations, noting that Liberman “failed to put forth sufficient evidence of its program carriage claims to establish a prima facie case.”

The dispute involves three Estrella TV stations in the Houston, Denver, and Salt Lake City DMAs. Based on the stations’ strong ratings, Liberman says it opted for retransmission consent, rather than must-carry, with respect to all of its Estrella TV stations for the three-year cycle beginning January 1, 2015. The move backfired for Estrella, with Comcast dropping the network’s low-power stations in the three markets on the grounds that the channels were lightly viewed. As they were no longer “must carry” stations, LBI lost its leverage with Comcast on ensuring coverage in these three markets.