Azteca enters Univision's territory

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Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca is ready to play in the U.S. Hispanic TV market
and take on what chairman Ricardo Salinas calls the market's "monopoly" player,
Univision Communications Inc., with its U.S. network, Azteca America.

"We know you've been wanting an alternative, and this time it's for real,"
Salinas said, speaking to advertisers and media buyers Tuesday at Azteca
America's first U.S. upfront presentation in New York. "We hear you and we
will deliver."

Along with Univison, though, Azteca America also has to wrestle with
NBC-owned Telemundo Communications Group Inc. and upstart TeleFutura, Univision's sister network.

Azteca America said it will reach 83 percent of U.S. Hispanic households by
the end of the year with stations in 44 markets.

The network said 70 percent of its affiliates will be carried on cable
systems.

While gaining coverage is clearly a challenge, Salinas added, "Expect to see
some real competition in the market" as his network grows.

Azteca America is aiming for 18- through 49-year-old Hispanic viewers with
programming -- a mix of popular Hispanic genres like novelas, talk shows and
variety shows -- imported from Mexican parent TV Azteca.

In its upfront presentation, Azteca executives touted this pipeline as an
effective and efficient means of programming.

"We control the whole chain, from production to distribution," Salinas noted.

Azteca executives emphasized its ability to offer advertisers product-placement
and sponsorship opportunities, particularly in its morning talk shows for
women.

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