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MTV-LIN Expand Island Venture

12/05/2004 7:00 PM Eastern

MTV: Music Television and LIN TV Corp. will be expanding a venture through which the cable network supplies a custom program block of music videos and Spanish-dubbed series to TV stations in Puerto Rico, officials said last week.

In the next several weeks, MTV is looking to add original programming to the 12-hour “MTV Puerto Rico” block it provides to LIN and its station in San Juan, WJPX.

“It’s going to get bigger and better with more original programming,” said Tony Dunaif, MTV’s senior vice president of business development and strategy. “We’re looking at a variety of different things. We’ll have a studio there and really tap into artists in Puerto Rico. We’re working on that and tweaking that now.”

VJ HUNT IS ON

MTV just conducted a VJ search and hired a male and female for MTV Puerto Rico, a hunt that was sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Since August, MTV has supplied programming for LIN from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., under the banner MTV Puerto Rico.

“The company that had the best brand identity with music and in that demo was obviously MTV,” LIN vice president of television Paul Karpowicz said. “It just made sense to try to form a relationship with them.

“MTV sees the potential in the Puerto Rican marketplace.”

MTV, the 24-hour cable service, is carried by all three cable operators in Puerto Rico, Dunaif said. But by working with LIN with the over-the-air block, MTV can reach 85% of the island’s 1.2 million TV homes, according to Dunaif.

“The reason why we’re doing this is it’s all about serving underserved markets,” he said. “In Puerto Rico we had the opportunity, by partnering with LIN broadcasting, to create a customized service just for the Puerto Rican market.

“It’s a 12-hour block from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. composed of music videos and our long-form programming dubbed into Spanish. It’s music videos that are customized to the taste of the Puerto Rican market.”

DUBBED SHOWS

The music videos that are part of the block are a mix of Puerto Rican, Latin and American artists, while the shows that air include Spanish-dubbed fare like Punk’d and Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica..

LIN and MTV are splitting the ad revenue and profits from the MTV Puerto Rico block. LIN is no stranger to cable. Earlier this year, it launched a domestic Spanish-language cable channel, WAPA-America, carrying news and entertainment programming from its WAPA-TV in San Juan. DirecTV Inc. carries that service.

MTV Puerto Rico is being carried by what Karpowicz called a loose over-the-air network of four stations, led by WJPX. “We actually have four stations across the island that carry the same signal,” he said.

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