ABC News, Univision to Launch Hispanic TV Network
English-language news channel will target English-dominant, bilingual Hispanics
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/7/2012 9:13:57 AM
The joint venture, which is subject to the completion of definitive agreements, would launch the unnamed TV channel in the first half of 2013, with a Website, mobile and social media content expected to debut this summer.
Executives from ABC News and Univision in charge of the joint venture declined to specify whether they would look to create a new channel or convert one of the existing channels owned by The Walt Disney Co. or Univision Communications, saying that such an announcement was pending a final signed agreement. While they said most cable operators who would carry such a channel found out of the announcement this morning, they suggested a "clear path" toward distribution, with additional details forthcoming.
The partnership calls for ABC News and Univision News to share newsgathering and production resources, with the new channel featuring anchors and correspondents from both networks in major cities across the U.S. A management team for the new network is to be announced this summer.
News content on the network will report on current events with a Latino perspective, like the economy, jobs, health care, immigration, education and politics, but it will also focus on lifestyle issues of importance to Hispanics, like entertainment, health and wellness. While cable news networks like CNN are general news services, ABC News President Ben Sherwood said their network would be highly customized for the Hispanic audience.
"Rather than going out and trying to compete with the CNN's and MSNBC's and the Fox's of the world, we actually imagine that we're going to enter this space first and that others will come in and try to compete with us in this particular segment that's so rapidly growing," he said.
When the negotiations between ABC News and Univision were first reported by The Wall Street Journal in February, it was said the joint venture would be located at Univision's headquarters in Miami, though Univision Networks President Cesar Conde said they are evaluating two or three potential cities and that the new network will be its own separate entity.
Univision was founded in 1962 to serve Hispanic Americans, and until now has been singularly focused on Spanish-language broadcasts through its flagship Univision Network, TeleFutura and cable networks like Galavision. Conde called the partnership for an English-language network a "natural extension for us" and one that he hopes will have broad appeal to other populations.
"We're going to bring a unique perspective to appeal not only to Hispanics in English but also to frankly to people of all populations because of the increasing influence we're seeing of Hispanics and this demographic explosion on the social, economic and certainly political front," he said.
The joint venture gives ABC News and Univision shared influence over the fastest-growing segment of the population: Hispanics currently represent 16% of the total U.S. population, which is projected to double to 30% by 2050. They also wield spending power of $1 trillion, expected to increased to $1.5 trillion in the next five years, giving the new channel substantial opportunity to court advertisers.
For ABC News, the partnership with Univision furthers the division's goal to increase its reach and develop growth businesses. Last October, ABC News entered a content-sharing deal with Yahoo! to become the primary news provider on the Yahoo! News Website, expanding the news division's reach to more than 100 million monthly U.S. visitors.
The new network will target the U.S.'s approximately 50 million Hispanics.
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