MundoFox, owned by News Corp.'s Fox International Channels and Colombia's RCN Television SA are teaming up to create a Spanish-language broadcast network for the U.S., attempting to challenge Univision Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp’s NBC-Universal-Telemundo.
The channel, called MundoFox, is due to launch this autumn, and will include a mix of content from FIC, RCN and third party suppliers, including Shine Group. The latter is set to produce its first Spanish-language content for MundoFox.
“There is an increasing demand for quality Spanish-language content in the US from both viewers and advertisers,” said FIC president and CEO Hernan Lopez.
News Corp until now had launched thematic channels targeting the Hispanic population. Last year, Fox introduced Fox Hispanic Media , a group of Spanish-language networks that seek to capture advertising dollars in a more efficient way by offering advertisers a one-stop shop to target Hispanic men, women and families. The launched networks included the woman-targeted Utilísima, Nat Geo Mundo, a sister network of the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD. In addition, the male-targeted Fox Deportes (formerly Fox Sports en Español) is one of the leaders in Hispanic Sports TVs.
RCN is one of the largest producers and exporters of Spanish-language television. Its past hits include Betty La Fea, the Spanish-Language inspiration behind US hit Ugly Betty.
FoxMundo will air RCN Television series as well as content from RCN’s 24-hour news channel NTN24. It will also show sports content from FIC’s Spanish-language sports network Fox Deportes.
The launch of Mundofox reflects a rush by media companies to cash in on the booming U.S. Hispanic population—one of the few significant growth opportunities for media companies in the U.S. "Demographics are shifting," said Hernan Lopez, chief executive of Fox International Channels. "The advertising pie still has room for growth." In the first nine months of last year, U.S. ad spending on Spanish-language TV rose 7.4% from a year earlier, while broad TV ad outlays rose only 2.3%, according to Kantar Media, an ad-tracking unit of WPP PLC.
What makes the introduction of Mundo Fox somewhat unusual is that it is a generalist Spanish-language network. Most observers think that the generalist sector, as opposed to the niche-thematic sector, are crowded enough with Univision and Telemundo as well as a myriad of other players (e.g. TV Azteca SAB's Azteca America and Liberman Broadcasting Inc.'s Estrella TV) competing for ad dollars. Niche oriented channels (e.g. targeting women – see last week’s announcement about MGM Ella’s launch, and sports – see the recent launch of Univision Deportes, as well as nature oriented programming like Discovery’s) are generally considered to be in higher demand by viewers and advertisers.
In addition, the launch of MundoFox also departs from the recent strong influx of English-language media targeting Hispanics.