ABC, Univision sign long-awaited deal for new Hispanic channel

Gabriel Miramar-Garcia ©RapidTVNews | 07-05-2012

As has been long-rumoured to be coming down the pike, ABC News and Univision have inked a deal to launch a multiplatform, round-the-clock news network for Hispanic Americans, in English.

Together, the two aim to serve 50 million Hispanics, the youngest and fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. The as-yet-unnamed network will deliver news content focused on issues, lifestyle interests and culture of importance to Hispanics, including the economy, jobs, health care, immigration, education, politics, entertainment, health and wellness and more. The network will have anchors and correspondents featuring journalists from both ABC News and Univision News in major cities across the U.S., and ABC News and Univision News will share newsgathering and production resources.

According to the 2010 census, Hispanics represent 16% of the total population in the United States, a number that is projected to double to 30% by 2050. ABC and Univision estimate that the demographic wields a spending power of over $1 trillion. And so it's no wonder that TV targeting the Hispanic population has been increasingly in the spotlight, with ESPN making a big move to incorporate Latin-targeted advertising and programming into its flagship multiplatform TV strategies, and the impending launch of FOX's upcoming Hispanic channel, Mundofox.

"This exciting joint venture represents the latest example of our long-term strategy to broaden the reach of ABC," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group. "Our powerful premier news brand, combined with the world’s leading Hispanic media company, will create the nation’s first news and lifestyle channel targeted to this quickly expanding and important community,"

A Web site, mobile and social media content are expected to debut this summer, with the television channel expected to launch in 2013. Details as to approach--basic cable vs. a local affiliate strategy like Mundofox--have not been released. However, ABC is lacking a news presence in the cable world, and free-to-air channels have plenty of Hispanic-focused competition already, so it's likely that a cable net strategy will be the way to go.

A management team for the new network is expected to be announced this summer.