Join Us Official English Legislation Media About U.S. English U.S. English Foundation
Contact Us

In Case You Missed It: Univision and ABC News Create English-language News Channel-- for Hispanics

This article from the New York Times outlines a new television station targeted at Hispanics that will feature news and lifestyle programming in English.

May 7, 2012

From The New York Times
May 7, 2012
(View the article on The New York Times website by clicking here)

From ABC News and Univision, an English-Language Channel for Hispanics
By Brian Stelter

Catering to the growing number of bilingual Hispanics in the United States who watch English-language television, Univision and the ABC News division of the Walt Disney Company are teaming up to start a cable channel with news and lifestyle programming.

Through the joint venture, both companies see an opportunity to grow: Disney, by negotiating a per-subscriber fee for the channel that will support ABC News, and Univision, by expanding into English-speaking media for the first time.

The companies will each own 50 percent of the venture. They said Monday morning that the channel — which is as yet unnamed — would start sometime in the first half of 2013.

Ben Sherwood, the president of ABC News, said it would be “a 24/7 news, information and lifestyle network primarily in English that will serve the youngest and fastest-growing demographic in the country, U.S. Hispanics.”

ABC News and Univision News will share some news-gathering and production resources, potentially allowing ABC News to trim some costs in the future. Network news divisions like ABC have been under pressure to contain costs in recent years.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Sherwood said that the venture gives ABC News an opportunity “to deepen and expand our conversation with a rapidly growing part of the population that is hugely influential.” For ABC, he said, it is a “powerful learning opportunity.”

“This is adding a new dynamic to the portfolio of Univision: a service in English for our community,” Cesar Conde, the president of Univision Networks, said in a joint interview with Mr. Sherwood.

Both executives said they expected that the channel’s programming would appeal to non-Hispanic viewers, as well.

Media companies like Disney are eager to provide advertisers new ways to reach Hispanics, whose numbers are swelling, according to census estimates. A recent report by Nielsen projected that the buying power of Hispanics in the United States, estimated at $1 trillion in 2010, will grow to $1.5 trillion in 2015.

Drew Wilson, of the Hispanic advertising agency Velocidad, said that the joint venture signaled ABC’s “recognition of the size and buying power of the U.S. Hispanic market.”

Many Hispanics watch Spanish- and English-language programming — which poses both a problem and an opportunity for Univision, a network that to date has served viewers only in Spanish.

Researchers say first-generation Hispanics in the United States tend to watch shows in Spanish, but many second- and third-generation Hispanics gravitate toward shows in English. To that end, Univision, the largest Spanish-language media company in the United States, recently started providing English-language subtitles for some of its Spanish-language prime-time shows.

“Until about 2000, the growth in the Hispanic market was driven by immigrants,” said David R. Morse, the chief executive of a multicultural marketing firm called New American Dimensions. “Since then, the real growth — the exponential growth that everyone talks about — has come from the U.S.-born segment. A majority of them are the children of immigrants. They are bilingual, but still very tied to their culture. But they prefer English.”

Univision and ABC News said the new channel would be produced “primarily in English.” Mr. Sherwood told ABC staff members on Monday afternoon that he wanted them to be “functionally bilingual” in the future; to that end, the news division will offer Spanish language courses.

Discussions about the joint venture were started more than a year ago, shortly after Mr. Sherwood became the president of ABC News. The discussions were first made public last February.

For more than a decade, ABC News and one of its network news competitors, CBS News, have been hobbled because they do not have a cable news arm like NBC News, which has had MSNBC since the mid-1990s. The per-subscriber fee for MSNBC helps NBC to offset its news-gathering costs. ABC executives have privately expressed hope that the deal with Univision would help their news division to do the same.

But first Disney, which will be in charge of distributing the channel, will have to persuade cable and satellite operators to carry the channel and pay for it. No carriage deals were announced on Monday, but Disney has leverage in the form of ESPN, ABC Family and its suite of other channels.

The channel will include lifestyle, entertainment and health-related programming as well as traditional news programming, which would distinguish it from cable news channels like CNN and Fox News, according to people involved in the joint venture. Nonetheless, they know that the channel will probably draw comparisons to traditional news channels.

People involved in the joint venture had originally hoped to get it on television in time for the presidential election this year. In lieu of that, a companion Web site for the channel will come online sometime this summer, the companies said Monday.

Get Involved

Donate online here
 Call to donate:(202) 833-0100
 Join Us and get involved
 Action Center

Stay Informed

Please enter your email address below to receive U.S. English communications
© 2016, U.S. English, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Any citation of the material contained in this website must credit U.S.ENGLISH.
No portion of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any way without the express permission of U.S.ENGLISH.
Copyright violations will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.