LBI’s Estrella TV is one of America’s most popular and fastest-growing Hispanic television networks with over 46 affiliates and available in every market in the US via various cable distributors. In recent years, Estrella TV has emerged as a top competitor to the country’s most widely distributed Spanish-language programmers, including Comcast-owned networks Telemundo and NBC Universo.
While every other MVPD in the US has embraced Estrella TV and provided expanded distribution, Comcast has systematically refused Estrella TV’s efforts to reach an expansive carriage agreement, which would allow for it to be distributed in a manner equivalent to Comcast’s distribution of its own Telemundo and NBC Universo networks.
Comcast’s actions toward its competitor, Estrella TV, in favor of its affiliated networks Telemundo and NBC Universo are clear and blatant violations of the FCC’s Program Carriage rules and the merger conditions imposed on it when Comcast acquired NBCUniversal.
As such, on April 8, 2016, LBI filed a formal complaint with the FCC against Comcast for violations of the FCC’s Program Carriage regulations and the merger conditions imposed by the FCC on Comcast when it acquired NBCUniversal. Our filing presents clear and compelling evidence that Comcast has discriminated against Estrella TV for the express purpose of benefitting its own networks, Telemundo and NBC Universo. Furthermore, the complaint makes clear that Comcast sought to unlawfully force Estrella TV to relinquish digital rights to its own content as a condition for program carriage.
Fortunately, the FCC’s Program Carriage regulations exist to address this type of systematic abuse by a vertically integrated company like Comcast, which owns both a massive cable distribution platform and program networks. If the FCC finds a violation, the agency can impose a range of remedies, including mandated distribution of Estrella TV on a par with Telemundo and/or NBC Universo.
In October 2016, Estrella TV Network, announced a new agreement with AT&T for carriage of Estrella TV on DIRECTV. AT&T owns the largest satellite TV service in the U.S. with more than 20 million customers. With the DIRECTV agreement, Estrella TV Network expanded its current carriage across the entire U.S. This agreement illustrates Estrella TV’s importance as content provider of relevant and original Spanish language television programing in the U.S.
LBI’s program carriage complaint with the FCC is significant to the future not only of Estrella TV and its efforts to provide a vibrant alternative programming choice for Hispanic viewers, including daily news that runs opposite the competition’s telenovelas, but also the future of independent programmers of all types. Allowing Comcast to so transparently discriminate against a direct competitor in the Spanish-language market will send a damaging signal that abusive behavior to other independent programmers will be tolerated by the government. Agency inaction would benefit Comcast to the detriment of the viewing public’s interest in a dynamic, diverse media marketplace.
After Comcast refused fair distribution while maintaining its digital rights demand, Comcast removed Estrella TV in Denver (KETD), Houston (KZJL), and Salt Lake City (KPNZ) from its system on February 19, 2015. Despite efforts by LBI to resolve the dispute fairly, Comcast continues to refuse to carry Estrella TV in those markets. It also refuses to expand carriage of Estrella’s programming to its 21 million subscribers across the US.
If you live in a market where Comcast is your cable company, or if you value independent programming and a diversity of voices in our media marketplace, you can call Comcast and encourage them to carry Estrella TV.
There was never a lawsuit filed against the company regarding this matter. There was an FCC review of the show and the matter was settled along with LBI Media’s commitment to cease broadcasting the program.
At LBI Media we believe in treating all members of our community with dignity and respect. One of our core values is “diversity and inclusion” and as such, we employ a diverse workforce comprised of LGBTQ employees in various levels of our organization. We embrace the differences intrinsic to our community and pride ourselves in diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our business; from our audience, team members and talent, to our content and the vendors we work with, respect and individuality is fostered.
Glassdoor is a web site that rates companies based on user-generated reviews in various areas, such as corporate culture, salaries, and executive teams, to name a few. Unfortunately, most of the reviews posted for LBI Media are outdated reviews written primarily by former employees, dating as far back as 2008. Needless to say, these reviews are not a reflection of the company and its active workforce. We continue striving to become a great place to work, which is evidenced by the number of employees who have been working for the company for ten, fifteen and some over twenty years. The rating system on Glassdoor.com is based on averages, and to date, LBI Media only has twenty-seven user-generated reviews. LBI Media currently employs more than 800 employees nationally, and has employed many thousands of different individuals since its founding.
LBI Media and Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions established a partnership in 2015. This partnership grants Estrella TV the exclusive Spanish language rights to air certain Golden Boy Promotions’ fights on its TV network and also on the company’s digital multichannel platform network, Fenomeno Studios.