2012 is shaping up to be a big year for Hispanic news outlets, with Univision and ABC News preparing to launch a new English-language cable news channel, and Telemundo and Univision preparing to cover the 2012 election.
This Summer, however, there will be a new player in the fast-growing field, as News Corp. launches its Spanish-language broadcast channel, MundoFox.
News will be a significant part of the new channel, according to Jorge Mettey, the senior VP of news at MundoFox.
“We have a lot of expectations; we strongly believe that we have a different approach and the right people, the vision and the ability to communicate at a different level,” Mettey tells TVNewser.
The basics: the network will launch with a single news show, an evening news program anchored by Rolando Nichols of KWHY Los Angeles, a MundoFox affiliate. There will be two live half-hours produced every weekday, one for the east coast and a second, customized version for the west coast.
So far, MundoFox has secured affiliates in 40 markets, including L.A., Miami, Dallas, San Francisco and Chicago, and is expected to have deals in New York and Houston shortly, rounding out the top 10 markets. In total, the network will reach around 70% of Hispanic households at launch.
Noticias MundoFox will hire “40-something” staffers over the next couple of months, in anticipation of an August 13th launch. The “lean and mean” newsroom will be based in Los Angeles, with a bureau in Washington D.C., Mettey says. Because Colombian broadcaster RCN is a partner in the venture, Noticias MundoFox will have access to its reporters and foreign bureaus. Local affiliates will also produce content that may be used in the national newscast. MundoFox will not have any association with Fox News Channel, which provides news to the FOX broadcasting network (i.e. “Fox News Sunday”).
The target audience for the newscast will sound familiar to anyone on the conference call with ABC News and Univision when the two entities announced their joint venture, though MundoFox will have a head-start, along with a key differentiator: the language.
“We are targeting Latinos, especially young Latinos who probably feel more comfortable speaking in English, but they do understand Spanish, and obviously we are also targeting Latinos who speak only Spanish,” Mettey says. “We are not focusing on the regular normal issues that newscasts in Spanish focus on, like immigration and that stuff. It is not our focus. We are talking to a different Latino. We are not talking to victims. We are talking to successful people eager to improve their lives.”
While the evening newscast will be the only news program at launch, Mettey is optimistic that as the network grows, its news division will as well. Competitors Univision and Telemundo have Sunday public affairs shows, and other programming including primetime newsmagazines and late-night newscasts.
“The plan is to grow our news operation as the network grows, at the beginning we are starting with a humble start, just with the half-hour, but the plan is to grow the operation to a bigger scale,” Mettey says. “We do believe that this is going to be very successful. We believe that most of us in the news operation have a proven record of being able to communicate successfully with the Latino community.”