ABC, Univision team up for English-language channel

Mitchell Hartman May 8, 2012

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.

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