Network eyes Mexican viewers

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Hispanic television Network, a tiny newcomer to Spanish-language TV, hopes to grow via primarily Mexican programming.

The fledgling network's 14 stations -- a mix of affiliates and owned and operated outlets -- are concentrated in Nevada and Texas with outlets in Tennessee and Oklahoma.

The network claims the total number of households reached for the owned & operated stations is 3.6 million and for the affiliates an additional 860,990. That number is expected to jump to 8 million in 30 days when the network closes deals on three more affiliates, it said.


HTVN, which launched in December, is still pulling together a national sales force and has made limited calls on Hispanic agency media buyers. So far it has not signed any national advertisers.

Marco Camacho, HTVN's CEO, said he is looking to add stations from top Hispanic markets, but confidentiality laws prevent him from identifying them. Ultimately he wants to be in Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington.

"I don't want to go out there with a shallow team and not be able to service the ad community. I want to get off on the right foot and represent the network well," Mr. Camacho said.

Meanwhile, HTVN has been relying on small direct marketing advertisers.

The publicly traded company has as its largest shareholder and chairman, Texan entrepreneur Jim Ryffel, President of Woodcrest Enterprises, a real estate development company. It also has a general market subsidiary, American Independent Network.

HTVN's strategy is to capitalize on the Mexican niche, which represents 63% of of the total U.S. Hispanic population. The remainder of the population is divided among Central and South Americans, 14.8%; Puerto Ricans, 10.5%; and Cubans, 4.5%

HTVN has made sales presentations to Hispanic agencies on the West Coast and in the south, including WPP Group's Mendoza, Dillon & Asociados, Dallas.

"We welcome a new network but . . . we want to see how HTVN develops programming and station selection," said Cindy Gough, senior VP-media director at Mendoza.

Mr. Camacho "is trying to present an alternative to the market. He's trying to grab that Mexican niche," said Simon El Hage, director of strategic marketing services for Lopez Negrete Communications, Houston.


Mr. Camacho said HTVN is bringing together a multimedia package. That includes a library of 400 Mexican films; 48% interest in portal; an agreement with Mexican cable network MVS Multivision for entertainment fare; and Televideo, a production company that produces programs for Telemundo, Univision and Galavision.

"Televideo is a profitable company with a great library," said Mr. Camacho. "We are producing original shows for our network and Televideo will produce some of those shows for us."

Recently, HTVN signed a deal to telecast selected Dallas Cowboys games and four one-hour specials.

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