ABC News and Univision today unveiled long-gestating plans to launch an English-language cable news network for Hispanics.
The still-unnamed network is expected to start by June 2013, after the presidential election, but the partners said a website, mobile app and social-media presence would be introduced this summer.
The channel is aimed at bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics, a growing proportion of the country's Hispanic population of 50 million and promises content that's "customized and culturally relevant to U.S. Hispanics," says ABC News chief Ben Sherwood, with issue and lifestyle programming. "The growth in this area is enormous, both in terms of their influence and the economy." Other cable channels also plan to target this audience. "Our mission is to inform and empower the Latino community," says Univision Networks chief Cesar Conde, and "we believe this adds to our mission in reaching consumers in any way, in any place and in any device they're consuming."
Sherwood emphasized the joint venture is not meant to "copy" CNN, Fox News or MSNBC, but instead will "create something customized and unique that fulfills the need of this audience." ABC and Univision News staffers will collaborate on the channel: An example of a potential program would be Jorge and George, teaming Univision anchor Jorge Ramos with ABC's George Stephanopoulos to explore the influence of Hispanics on the U.S. elections.
ABC has no other cable-news outlet, having abandoned plans to start one in the mid-1990s, while Univision last month launched its own Spanish-language news channel. ABC and Univision have not secured commitments from any cable or satellite systems to carry the new channel.