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Tulsa World

Hispanic TV Audience Growing in U.S.

January 2, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Tulsa World. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Hispanics are driving the overall growth of the country's television audience, and according to the latest Nielsen research, account for 18 percent of viewers who are 18 to 34, and 15 percent of those 18 to 49, the most desirable groups for advertisers.

And with about half of Hispanic-American households thought to prefer watching programs in Spanish, English-language broadcast networks are trying different tactics and are making programming more friendly in an effort to reach a group that has been elusive but has become too important to ignore.

Using secondary audio programs -- known in the trade as SAP, a technology that has been around for years -- is one way that new shows like the WB Network's "Greetings From Tucson" and old staples like "The Bold and the Beautiful" on CBS are trying to capture new viewers. In the meantime, the proliferation of cable channels in the last two years has allowed both broadcast and cable companies to start their own all-Spanish cable networks to carve out a market niche in areas like sports. The Fox Entertainment Group and the News Corp., for instance, have Fox Sports en Espanol, while ESPN plans to start a Spanish-language sports network, ESPN Deportes, next fall.

"There's a rising tide out there that's lifting everybody's boat," said David Sternberg, general manager of Fox Sports en Espanol, which caters to both immigrants and bilingual U.S.-born Hispanics who watch in Spanish to stay connected to that culture and heritage.

The most aggressive move into the Spanish-speaking market so far has come from NBC, which in April bought Telemundo, one of the nation's two large all-Spanish networks. The $2.7 billion acquisition has allowed cross-promotion and combined sales and coverage, including plans for simulcasts of exclusive programming.

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