By Mack Chico
Cine Latino, the leading Spanish-language premium film channel in the United States, announces the appointment of cable industry veteran James M. McNamara, former chief executive of Telemundo and founder of Panamax Films, as non-executive Chairman.
Cine Latino, co-owned by MVS Television and InterMedia Partners, offers the biggest and most current Spanish-language blockbusters and critically-acclaimed titles. With more than 3.5 million cable and satellite subscribers, Cine Latino is the leading U.S. Spanish-language movie channel. Cine Latino also has over 2 million subscribers throughout Latin America and Canada.
“We are very excited to have Jim on board,” says Ernesto Vargas, President of MVS Television. “Under Jim’s leadership, Cine Latino is preparing to announce exciting and unprecedented plans to reinforce our position as the leading premium provider of Spanish-language cinema.”
McNamara has extensive Hispanic TV experience, serving as President and CEO of Telemundo from 1999 to 2005, during which time the network sold to General Electric/NBC for $2.7 billion.
In 2005 McNamara left the top position at Telemundo to start Panamax Films, a production house aimed at producing high quality English and Spanish-language films for the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American audiences. Panamax distributes through a distribution agreement with Lion’s Gate Entertainment. In 2006 Panamax distributed La Mujer de Mi Hermano and in 2007 produced and distributed the hit Ladron Que Roba a Ladron. Panamax film Sangre de mi Sangre was the first Spanish-language film to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.
“Jim brings both his unparalleled understanding of Spanish-language television and film and a tremendous vision to Cine Latino,” says Alan Sokol, senior investment partner of InterMedia. “Under Jim’s direction, Cine Latino will become synonymous with the best in Spanish language cinema.”
In his new role as non-executive Chairman, McNamara will be responsible for overseeing programming, distribution, marketing and finance. The current management will remain intact in Mexico. As part of the channel’s effort to grow the management staff in the United States, Cine Latino has appointed Sandra Austin as Chief Financial Officer. Austin formally served as CFO of MGM Networks Latin America. Carolina Bilbao has been named Creative Director after previous creative positions at Telemundo, MTV Networks, and Oxygen. Katie Hamlin joins as Public Relations Director from Edelman, before which she served as Public Relations Manager of Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico.
“I am thrilled to be leading Cine Latino’s exceptional team,” says McNamara. “The channel is committed to providing the best, most relevant contemporary Spanish-language film titles to all Latinos living in the U.S. I look forward to leveraging my experience in Spanish-language television and film to build upon the channel’s success and strengthen our status as the ultimate Spanish-language film destination.”
McNamara holds a Masters degree from the American Graduate School of International Management. He earned an undergraduate degree in business administration and political science from Rollins College. He was born and raised in the Republic of Panama and currently resides in Miami with his wife and three children.
Cine Latino was founded by MVS Television, a subsidiary of Mexico City’s Grupo MVS. Private equity firm InterMedia Partners recently acquired a 50% interest in Cine Latino. Movie producer and industry veteran McNamara also acquired an equity interest in the channel.