Explosion of T.V. in English for Latinos
By Lewis Beale January 14th 2009
Robert Rose remembers when he first pitched advertisers the idea of an English language show about Latino culture.
"They were not receptive at all," says the founder and executive producer of LATV Networks, which produces the "American Latino TV" and "LatiNation TV" shows.
This was more than seven years ago, when Univision was still the 500-pound gorilla in the Latin TV market, he says.
Advertisers "were loyal to the Univision model, which was that to reach Latinos, you had to do it in Spanish. Everyone had been saying the same thing for 25 years."
Less than a decade later, four national Latino-targeted TV channels in English — Mun2, SiTv, MTVTr3s and LATV — have been launched and three syndicated programs such as "LatinEyes TV" air regularly across the U.S.
Funny thing, though. In the decades since Spanish language broadcast giants Univision and Telemundo invaded the U.S. market, the Latino demographic has changed radically.
More and more children have been born here to immigrant parents — they now constitute the majority of Hispanics — and they are growing up speaking English.
Rose refers to this group as Generation 1.5.
"It’s someone who was born in the U.S., or someone who moved here at a young age, and is very acculturated. They are very American and very Latino."
This bicultural young adult audience "is the fastest-growing minority in this country," adds Argentinian-born Alex Pels, general manager of the bilingual cable network Mun2, launched in 2001.
"We feel this is a segment that is completely underserved in terms of general market programming; even the Spanish networks are not serving them," Pels says.
Automobile, beer and fast food companies were the first to jump in the 42 million-strong market, eager to advertise on the new shows.
"It’s the people who have been in the Hispanic market the longest," says Rose, "and were very savvy."
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