Spanish-Language Networks Not Breaking From Status Quo

Hispanics can expect to see some familiar-type entries on their screens

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For all the talk about growing audiences and advertising expenditures, what can U.S. Hispanics expect in terms of content? A little bit more of the same, according to media observers.

While the entry of Fox Hispanic Networks’ NatGeo Mundo to the marketplace and an expected boost in programming by Discovery Communications will add a dose of quality nonfi ction programming to the Spanish-language content offering, Hispanics can expect to see some familiar-type entries on their screens (i.e. telenovelas and sports), and a dash more nonscripted programming (reality shows), with cooking, health and beauty competitions topping the list.

On the broadcasting side, both Telemundo and Univision are expected to continue their primetime feud by programming telenovelas, with both stepping up efforts to extend their offerings online and on mobile platforms. In addition, Univision will be offering three new cable channels, including one that will roll out in July built around telenovelas tentatively called UniNovelas. Univision is also likely to program more shows from Grupo Televisa, as the partners recently settled their differences, with the Mexican media giant injecting a much-needed $1.2 billion on Univision.

As for the sports networks, both ESPN Deportes and Fox Deportes will be unveiling new properties in May, though both want to keep the details a surprise.

Still, creative and media agencies say they would like to see a more diverse supply of content, one that would finally meet increasing demand and would extend beyond the usual fare.

“We do need to see more progress on the content side,” says Steven Wolfe Pereira, executive VP and managing director at Publicis Groupe’s Mediavest. “We want to see the content. Content needs to be the most engaging piece of this growth. We need to see content that goes beyond novelas, beyond soccer, beyond news.”

Echoing this sentiment is Alain Groenendaal, president and CEO at Wing, a WPP-owned multicultural shop in New York City, who thinks there is a huge opportunity to create programming that caters to a more multicultural nation, whether that’s Latino, African-American, Asian or any other ethnic group. “Marketers are craving for programs that reach a more multicultural community,” says Groenendaal, whose agency works with advertisers including P&G, Diageo and Goya. “Why aren’t there more shows like Modern Family?”