THE HISPANIC BLOG BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ
Cable operator Comcast yesterday agreed to carry two new Hispanic-run TV cable channels, joining a growing march of media heavyweights targeting not just the $1.2 billion in advertising spent on Spanish network TV but on growing their slice of the $60 billion now spent with mainstream TV.
Earlier this month, market leader Univision tied up with Disney-ABC to launch an English language 24-hour news channel.
In January, News Corp. said it would launch Spanish language MundoFox, a new broadcast network in the fall.
And that’s on top of several Hispanic spin-offs that currently exist, ranging from MTV’s Tr3s to ESPN Deportes.
Brad Adgate, senior vice president and research chief at Horizon Media, notes, “The latest Census says one out of every six people is Hispanic. You can’t ignore it. We are already seeing the trend of the white minority in some states.”
SNL Kagan estimates that Univision generated $825 million in ad revenue in 2011 while NBCUniversal’s Telemundo raked in $329 million — not including retransmission fees, which are an additional source of revenue.
Hispanics number 50 million, or 16.3 percent of the nation’s population, but the Census Bureau says that by 2040, Hispanics will make up 50 percent.
Hispanic spending power is expected to grow to more than $1.5 trillion by 2015, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center, or 15 percent of America’s total buying power.
Trend lines already make for shocking ratings reports.
On Friday evenings, Univision ranks behind only Fox in the advertiser-craved 18-49 year old demographic, with a 1.6 rating.
The network is making inroads on other nights, too, and beats NBC on Thursdays this TV season with a 1.7 average rating, or 2.2 million viewers. NBC has an average rating of 1.6.
Run by former NBCUniversal TV President Randy Falco, Univision crows that it is beating NBC on one out of every two nights this season in primetime.
“Spy Kids” director Robert Rodriguez is fronting one of the new Comcast-backed channels. Called El Rey, it is scheduled to launch in January 2014.
Rodriguez said Madison Avenue has been welcoming of the idea, since it targets young, second-generation viewers who are influenced equally by American and Latino culture.
Rodriguez underscored the extent to which media companies want to get into the game.
“Comcast set [subscription fees] at a good rate so we don’t have to accept a lot less from everyone else,” he said, while declining to discuss the distribution fees guaranteed by Comcast.
The cable company was ordered by the Federal Communications Commission to increase its commitment to multicultural programming as part of its deal to buy NBCUniversal.
Negotiations will begin with other providers, said Rodriguez. “They gave us a leg up to help us get subscription fees,” he added. Comcast’s other Hispanic-themed channel is BabyFirst Americas.
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