Spanish-language multicaster Vme will soon drop public TV service

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The Spanish-language TV channel Vme will end its multicast service for public television over the next year as it transitions to commercial cable.

“We are anticipating a gradual phase-out of the PBS signal” as affiliate station contracts end, said Victor Cerda, s.v.p. of corporate strategy. He estimated about 80 percent of Vme’s current 43 public TV clients will drop the channel by March 2017.

Vme is already airing on commercial providers DirecTV, Verizon Fios, Mediacom, AT&T and Frontier, Cerda said. The service is also in talks with Comcast and additional carriers.

Vme launched in 2007 as a public TV multicast channel offering lifestyle content for Spanish-speaking audiences. The 10-year contracts with its original client stations end soon.

When Vme reps contacted stations over the last year to discuss extending those deals, Cerda said, many had already decided to drop Vme to make room for the PBS Kids multicast channel that launches in January. Others are opting for replacing Vme with local content.

Cerda said several public TV stations would like to offer Vme content online. “We’re working on a way to maintain that service,” he said.

Vme also has been talking with PBS “to persuade them to beef up their outreach to Hispanic audiences” with its content, Cerda said.

“We talked about partnering with PBS using the Vme platform to broadcast PBS Kids programming in Spanish,” he said. “That’s something that makes sense, given the growing demographic of Hispanic children. They weren’t interested.”

Jan McNamara, PBS spokesperson, said PBS Kids content “attracts significant viewership among Hispanic families as an English language service,” and several programs on the primary channel are available in Spanish through the second audio program option. Some content on the new PBS Kids multicast channel also will be available in SAP, she said.

WNET in New York City remains a partner in Vme, which was announced in 2005 and initially called Viva. A WNET spokesperson declined comment.

10 thoughts on “Spanish-language multicaster Vme will soon drop public TV service

  1. Too bad there weren’t subtitles in English for language students learning Spanish, or English. Worldview MHZ offers international programing in many languages and provides subtitles in English. I am learning French and Italian now because of the programing on MHZ Network has inspired me with quality programing re-enforcing my studies. V-Me does not offer me any reason to learn Spanish. Perhaps they have been unaware of this market that could have raised their ratings.

  2. This is a move in the wrong direction. Vme was the only spanish channel with consistent quality progaming, at the begining.The only problem the audience got tired of watching the same episodes over and over again. At the begining the programing was well balance, el diario de una enfermera, los pulseras rojas, cuentame otra vez, patrulla de alta mar y africa de mi corazon, el barco….que nunca termino, we were hooked!
    But… every day watching the same animal programs … Friday night’s selection lacked the mood of a Friday night I think who ever chose the program at the begining was clever. Very disappointed.

  3. That sucks, it’s the only public educational channel in Spanish that we can get. As great as PBS Kids is, their lineup is almost all cartoons aimed at much younger kids. It’s rare to have a channel like Vme that can entertain and educate kids, teens, and adults in Spanish, without resorting to cable.

  4. This was bound to fail from the get-go. Less than 10 comments in 4 months! Most OTA viewers probably never knew it existed, and a very low percentage probably donated to PBS. As an aside, I think it is sad that we overly promote other languages rather than unify people. Many channels offer SAP if they have to listen in a different language.

  5. In what channel is VME with FIOS in NY. Thanks for your answer! I had DIrect Tv (channel 440) but now I changed to FIOS and I can’t find VME. I like this channel because is very educative and the programs regarding animals.

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