Estrella Television to launch soon, will challenge other Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just a quick heads up for those paying attention to Spanish in the United States:

On July 1, Estrella TV will launch in about 70 percent of Hispanic homes in most of the 20 largest Hispanic markets. And it's launching in time to participate in this summer’s $1.6 billion Spanish-language upfront ad market.

Estrella TV isn’t just another upstart.

The network is being launched by Liberman Broadcasting in Los Angeles, an established player in Spanish-language radio since the 1970s and television since the 1980s. It's already a formidable TV competitor to Univision and Telemundo stations in five markets, including L.A., San Diego, Houston and Dallas.

Estrella TV will broadcast programs geared to all Hispanics, with an emphasis on the 18-49 demographic, airing news and original entertainment programming, including comedies and variety shows. It will not air the novelas that are the backbone of Univision and Telemundo programming.

Hm, no novelas. Sounds great. Surveys show that Hispanics in the US that have graduated from university are far more likely to prefer using English, so perhaps a bit more cerebral content in Spanish might be a good idea.


The network is already airing a newscast in local markets.

“It all comes down to programming,” says Lenard Liberman, executive vice president of Estrella TV. “The media landscape is very competitive. But we have market-by-market data that shows we’re very competitive. We are getting very high ratings, and we’ve had year-to-year growth for the past five years.”

Last month, Estrella TV signed up four affiliates in Texas and earlier this month it purchased a low-power station in New York, WASA channel 25.

Liberman says more are coming. “We’re expecting to have 70 percent of the Hispanic market covered, based on the stations we’re talking to,” he says. “It’s potentially more than that. There’s a station in virtually every top 20 market that is either already signed or is in the final stages of being signed.”


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