MTV en Español is changing its name, programming and distribution model in the hopes of reaching a young bicultural Latino audience aged 12-24.
MTVTR3S, Spanish for MTV3, is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of this year. The channel will compete against Sí TV, NBC Universal-owned mun2 and LATV for the same U.S.-born youth segment of the Hispanic population. All four competing channels have labored to secure distribution in and outside of cable operators’ digital Hispanic tiers.
"Everybody is aware that there is this underserved [young Latino] audience, but a couple of things make us different. First of all, everyone wants to be MTV, [yet] the MTV style is very hard to emulate" said Lucia Ballas-Traynor, senior vice president and general manager of MTVTR3S.
MTV is objectively different because it is trying to buy its way around the distribution hurdle by having purchased 10 low-power stations from Caballero Television earlier this year.
The former Caballero stations are now the only television stations actually owned by Viacom Inc. following its split from CBS. These stations are still airing a Spanish-language music television network called Más Música that was developed by Caballero and will do so until the launch of MTVTR3S.
As for the Hispanic youth market itself, MTV Networks president Christina Norman described it as a "huge market for us to tap into [and] a great opportunity for marketers to reach a new segment."
Ballas-Traynor added, "The median age of foreign-born Hispanics is 35, whereas the median age of the U.S.-born segment is 18. I'm not saying they are not watching novelas with their family, [but] there comes a time when the young Latino audience says, ‘This is not cool.’"