ABC, Univision team up for English-language channel

The new 24-hour English-language cable channel will target Latinos. But it's an unproven market.

Stacey Vanek Smith: ABC and Univision are teaming up to create a new 24-hour cable channel. Univision is dominant in Spanish-language TV. But this new channel will be in English with a Latino focus.

Mitchell Hartman reports.


Man speaking in Spanish

Mitchell Hartman: My Spanish is kind of rusty, so you're better off with me not trying to translate. But a version of this marketed to Latinos who speak English will be available for channel surfing soon. The new cable channel and accompanying website will offer a combination of hard news and lifestyle programming.

Mark Lopez of the Pew Hispanic Center has done a new survey.

Mark Lopez: What we found is that among Hispanics, 38 percent are Spanish-dominant, another 38 percent are bilingual, about a quarter are English-dominant.

Add it up, and more than half of Hispanics are comfortable conducting their lives -- presumably also their TV watching -- in English. And, the demographic is only growing. Half of all Hispanics are U.S.-born. And more of the population growth is coming from second- and third-generation Hispanics.

Blaire Borthayre: This is an unproven market.

Blaire Borthayre runs a marketing firm to help businesses reach Hispanic consumers. She's second-generation Mexican-American, and says among people like herself...

Borthayre: You don't see a big interest necessarily in just Hispanic issues. You see in terms of food, yes, they eat with their families. Music, there's some crossover there.

She recently did a focus group about book-buying habits with a group of 20-something U.S.-born Latinos.

Borthayre: They talk like any other 23 year olds -- elationships, action, mystery. It wasn't with a Hispanic hero or with Hispanic music.

The new cable channel launches early next year.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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