Hispanic TV News Readies to Ramp Up

By Alex Weprin 

Jorge Ramos interviews President Obama

A major population shift is beginning to have an impact on the TV news business. As the number of Hispanics in the U.S. continues to rise, TV programming targeting them has risen accordingly.

Among the moves: a 24 hour cable news channel from Univision.


The AP reports on the rise of Spanish TV news, which is one of the genres that has seen explosive growth over the last few years. As Latinos become an even more important demographic for politicians, Spanish-language newscasts are quickly becoming political destination as well:

Univision announced this spring that it plans to start a 24-hour cable news channel in 2012, along with several local newscasts. It’s also created an investigative team and a news documentary division, while hiring reporters to cover the drug war, health care, Wall Street and the White House.

Its primary rival, NBC Universal’s Telemundo says its local affiliates are adding 1,000 hours of local news content a year, as well as several all-news digital channels in key markets.

Univision and Telemundo’s nightly newscasts, whose audiences are growing, drew a combined average of about 2.5 million viewers nightly last year according to Nielsen Co. That’s small compared to the 23 million combined for the big three English-language network newscasts, but it’s also a higher proportion of Hispanic households than the big three capture of the general audience.

Univision, CNN en Espanol and Telemundo’s weekend public affairs programs now regularly draw top leaders. Topics range from immigration to the disproportionate number of uninsured Hispanics. Earlier this year when President Barack Obama held a town hall on education, Univision was chosen for the first time as the network to air it.

After his reelection in 2004, president George W. Bush gave his first interview to Univision’s Jorge Ramos, a decision that underscored the importance of the demographic.