The new Spanish-language television channel MundoFox began broadcasting Monday around the United States with the goal of winning a large segment of the more than 50 million Hispanics living in this country, an enticing market dominated by Univision and much-smaller rival Telemundo.
"Hispanic viewers have evolved much quicker than the programs they are currently being offered in Spanish, and that's the great opportunity we see for MundoFox," Emiliano Saconne from Argentina, the channel's president, said in an interview with Efe.
The new channel, a joint venture of the Colombian media group RCN and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is now on the air in 50 U.S. cities, including such large centers of the Latino community as Miami, Los Angeles and New York.
The new channel will try to grab part of the Hispanic audience that currently has a purchasing power of $1 trillion and is expected to represent a third of the U.S. population by 2050.
Under the slogan "Americano como tu" (American, like you), MundoFox reaches 75 percent of Hispanic households with original content like the contest program "Minuto para Ganar" (A Minute to Win), U.S. series dubbed in Spanish like "Bones," and programming from RCN and from Fox channels in Spanish.
MundoFox also spotlights series that have been successful in Latin America like "Kdabra" starring Mexico's Christopher Uckermann, and "El Capo" with the Colombian Marlon Moreno, in an all-out effort to end market dominance by the telenovelas featured by the leading Spanish-language networks in the United States.
"There's nothing wrong with telenovelas, in fact they're a great category, super-successful - but by definition it's a product that has never evolved," Saconne said in defending the MundoFox strategy of airing telenovelas during the day but not in prime time.
The Argentine said that polls taken before the channel was launched showed that some Hispanics don't watch television in Spanish, not because they don't speak the language but because they don't like the content, which is why MundoFox is bent on "duplicating the quality of English-language television in the United States."
"There's a segment of the Hispanic audience that has been ignored for years. It's an audience that, like me, doesn't watch telenovelas but prefers other kinds of programs in English, because once you start watching those programs they go better with the life you're leading as a Latino in this country," Marco Antonio Regil, host of "Minuto para Ganar," told Efe.
"Univision and Telemundo, which are already doing some good things, will get even better and make the situation even more interesting. There will be three big players competing with each other for the market, and the result can only be better Spanish-language television for everyone," Regil said.
MundoFox also has its own live national newscasts, presented by Rolando Nichols and which, according to the president of the network, will have an editorial line "completely independent" of Fox News, which on occasion has acted as a platform for attacking the immigrant community.
"You could say that the Hispanic audience has a certain skepticism about all that Fox News signifies, we understand that and in fact our news programs take that very much into account," Saconne said. EFE