Estrella TV, the Spanish-language network owned by Liberman Broadcasting, announced its official nationwide launch Monday, the culmination of a gradual roll-out over the last several months. Estrella has grown steadily for the last decade, and will now span 24 markets across the U.S., including 9 of the top 10 Hispanic markets. With this launch, Estrella is in a position to reach 68% of U.S. Hispanic households.
“The nationwide launch of Estrella TV gives the network a chance to spread its wings, to demonstrate the clear advantage it has over the other Spanish-language networks available in the United States,” said Lenard Liberman, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of LBI Media, the parent company of Liberman Broadcasting.
Others are less optimistic about Estrella’s future. The Los Angeles Times‘ Joe Flint points out that LBI’s revenues were down 16.4% in the second quarter this year, and their operating income fell 5.6%. Flint also warns of the stiff competition that already exists between Univision and Telemundo, the current leading Spanish-language networks. Both networks are more established than Estrella, and are carried by equally stable television stations.
LBI hopes to differentiate Estrella from these competitors with the diversity of its programming. Instead of supplying the network with telenovelas, which Liberman says have a “significantly declining audience,” Estrella develops programs like “Estudio 2,” a musical variety show, based on what Hispanic viewers are watching on mainstream TV.