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People to Meet: Henry Martinez, President and managing director, Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic

Discovery registered 21% growth in its Latin American subscriber base this year as well as rolling out new networks Liv and TLC.

Regional boss Henry Martinez says that the goals for 2012 are to harness the rapid growth of pay TV in markets including Brazil and to launch new networks catering to the fast-growing US Hispanic population.

“We surpassed the 200 million cumulative subscriber mark in 2011 across all of our networks and that was because of good growth in Colombia, Mexico and Peru. And there is Brazil: the beast has woken up. The level of investment and marketing from the big pay TV operators has gone to a different level and pay TV penetration has more than doubled to 21%.”

Martinez is taking some of Discovery’s 11-channel bouquet in the region from premium to basic tiers to increase exposure to the developing pay TV advertising market. The mix of affiliate fees and ads is now about 70-30 whereas it tracks at about 50-50 in more mature markets.

With Discovery tracking male and Discovery Kids targeting young viewers, Discovery Lat-Am has also worked hard to reach out to female viewers recently.

Travel and Living is being rebranded TLC and the rebadged channel started rolling out in December. If the watchword for TLC is ‘aspirational content’ then Home and Health, which also targets women, is more focused on ‘practical’ and ‘how-to’ programming.

Meanwhile, Martinez says that there will be more US Hispanic channel roll outs in 2012.