Buenos Aires, October 31st  2005 – Beginning November 1st, Walt Disney Television International Latin America and ESPN Latin America will start operating a new entity, Disney & ESPN Media Networks Latin America, which will be responsible for the sales of its television networks ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Brasil, Disney Channel, and Jetix.

Until now, affiliate sales for Disney Channel and Jetix were handled by HBO Latin America Group. In the next few weeks, HBO and the new organization, Disney & ESPN Media Networks Latin America, will commence the transition of all distribution agreements with cable and satellite operators in the region. The Walt Disney Company continues to be an equity partner within HBO LAG, and its participation in this venture does not change.

The Disney & ESPN Media Networks Latin America organization will be led by ESPN veteran Guillermo Tabanera, who has been promoted to Senior Vice President.  In addition to his duties as general manager of all of ESPN’s businesses in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean, Tabanera will take on additional responsibilities managing the newly formed Disney & ESPN Media Networks Latin America.  In this new role, Tabanera will report jointly to Russell Wolff, managing director, ESPN International, and to Diego Lerner, President, The Walt Disney Company Latin America and General Manager for Walt Disney Television, Disney Channel and Jetix Latin America.  Tabanera will continue to report to Wolff with respect to his existing ESPN responsibilities.  German Von Hartenstein, who was recently promoted to general manager, ESPN in Brazil, will oversee the Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group for Brazil and will likewise report jointly to Wolff and to Lerner with respect to the new entity.  Von Hartenstein will continue to report to Wolff with respect to his existing ESPN responsibilities in Brazil.

“Disney, Jetix and the ESPN brands are highly valued by kids, families, sports fans, affiliates and advertisers,” said Wolff.  “This new organization will allow us to better serve all of our valuable clients.  We are excited to be structuring ourselves in a manner which is flexible and responsive to our clients’ needs.”

“HBO LAG has been instrumental in Disney Channel’s launch and growth, both on the premium and basic tiers, as well as in the development of Disney Channel and Jetix as leaders in the industry.  Today we’re facing a new phase in our evolution and consolidation in the market.  ESPN, which is already our partner in ad sales, is the natural partner for affiliate sales as well, since all our channels are part of The Walt Disney Company,” said Lerner.

About ESPN International 

ESPN International is a division of ESPN, Inc., the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports Entertainment Company.  ESPN International has grown to include ownership– in whole or in part– of 29 television networks outside of the United States, as well as a variety of brand extension businesses, which allow ESPN to reach fans in 194 countries and territories.  ESPN International business entities include television, radio, print, internet, wireless, consumer products, and event management.  ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.  The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.  

About Walt Disney Television International Latin America
Walt Disney Television International Latin America is home to all of The Walt Disney Company Latin America’s entertainment and television properties. The group includes media networks Disney Channel and Jetix Latin America, as well as the Buena Vista International Television division, which handles the distribution of TV content for free TV and cable throughout Latin America.


The Walt Disney Company (Latin America)
Ariana Fernández
Phone: +541-15-777-7014

ESPN International (U.S. contact)
Chris Bellitti
Phone:  +1.212.456.0265