Fox Launches Hispanic-Targeted Broadcaster MundoFox

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Fox has launched Spanish-language broadcast net MundoFox, as promised, on no fewer than 50 affiliates (21 of them full-power stations) throughout the country. 

For prime time, MundoFox is stripping novelas Los Exitosos Perez, a series about newscasters in love, and El Capo at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. Game show Minuto para Ganar (Minute to Win It) will lead in at 7 p.m., with Noticias MundoFox at 6:30.

New Jersey's low-power station WPXO will be the local MundoFox affiliate in the New York City market (the station started broadcasting the MundoFox signal a couple of weeks ago), but the new net's flagship station will be KWHY in Los Angeles—recently sold to The Meruelo Group by NBCUniversal when the latter was required to sell one of its owned-and-operated stations during its merger with cable operator Comcast. The suite of stations also includes former MyNetworkTV affiliate XHDTV, which is technically a Mexican station (it broadcasts out of Tecate, Baja California, Mexico), though its offices are in San Diego.

MundoFox said that it has built a base of affiliate stations "representing 80 percent of U.S. Hispanic households" and will continue to expand through satellite, cable and telco providers.

It is not easy to run a Spanish-language TV station in the U.S. MundoFox will be competing with market share leader Univision (and when you read "market share leader," think "70 percent at the very least") and Telemundo, which takes up most of the market not dominated by Univision. The tiny sliver left over is split among Estrella TV, Azteca America, LATV and other even smaller networks. NBC reached deep into its pockets to win Spanish-language broadcast bids for the Olympics and the World Cup as it gears up to compete with Univision; MundoFox will need a similarly bold strategy if it's going to get the attention of U.S. Hispanics, increasingly targeted not just by Spanish-language media, but by savvy companies in the general market who have seen the breathtaking statistics on Hispanic youth and growth over the next few years.

Fox, of course, has pockets just as deep as NBC, and the battle for Hispanic eyeballs (and the corresponding ad dollars) may turn into a three-way clash of the titans as Univision, Telemundo and MundoFox duke it out. Cable is obviously the next battleground, with a new Spanish-language news channel from ABC and Univision forthcoming and more attention from NBCU on Mun2.

MundoFox's slate of programming features 12 shows, including American Dad dubbed in Spanish, a half-hour version of Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty) and a Latin version of Sex and the City called Las Santísimas. Interestingly, the net is opting for both traditional telenovelas like El Capo 2 and aggressively youth-targeted weekly dramas like its new supernatural series Kdabra. Sports programming includes UFC-Live, while ESPN Deportes and Fox Deportes veteran Rolando Nichols will anchor Noticias MundoFox at 6 p.m. Nichols won a Peabody for a special series examining the U.S. Hispanic community.

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