Mun2 Reaches Out to Young Hispanics

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Music and talk shows will be the staples of Telemundo Cable's new, youth-targeted Spanish-language service.

Mun2, which will replace Telemundo's female-targeted Gems network, was set to launch on Sept. 19. That debut has now been delayed in the wake of last week's terrorist strikes against the U.S.

"We are very saddened by the tragic events and our hearts go out to the families of the victims," said Telemundo Cable president Manuel Abud in a statement. "In light of this, we have postponed the launch of Mun2 television until further notice.

"We reach out to our young viewers, reminding them that they are our hope and our future. It's important that we maintain our optimism and stay united."

When it does premiere, Mun2 will reach about 2.8 million homes with a lineup of about 60 percent to 70 percent original programming, according to Abud.

The change in programming won't alter Telemundo's undisclosed operator rate card, Abud said. Despite a crowded cable-network marketplace, Abud said he expects to increase the network's distribution numbers by targeting what he described as an underserved 18-to-34-year-old Spanish-speaking demographic.

"It's a very crowded arena, but we found out after a long period of research and analysis and focus groups that the young-adult segment has been underserved on Spanish-language television," he said. "We definitely see an opportunity there both in terms of providing them a compelling offer, and also the advertisers are excited about reaching this segment."

The network's signature shows will be music-oriented, with a number of programs focused on several niche genres. Shows include Planeta Rock, which focuses on Spanish-language rock music; Padrisimo,
which will introduce viewers to the latest in Tex-Mex and regional Mexican music; UpBeat
, which will provide viewers with a VIP pass into the hottest clubs and dance music
from around the world; JAMZ, which will feature breaking music news; and Musica Si,
which will showcase live performances from the biggest names in the music industry.

"Music is a very universal way to talk to young people, and we found that the various genres that young viewers want are not served on the typical video channels," he said.

"We'll have a combination of different genres such as regional Mexican music, Spanish language rock 'n' roll, one for Latin/Caribbean music."

The show will also feature several entertainment-based shows, including FuZion, an "unconventional" teen-hosted music and film-oriented news show that launched earlier this year on Gems. Also set to premiere is Hollywood en Acción,
which features the latest movie news and film criticism.

Chat
is a live talk show in which young adults will discuss the issues of the day. "The show will have an Internet element to provide an open space for young, Spanish-language viewers to express their opinions in an informal environment," Abud said.

The network will also launch several youth-targeted series produced both domestically and internationally, including Enamorarte, a reality series set at a school for the arts, and Nueva Ola, an hour-long series set in a high-school gym.

Abud doesn't believe rumors about a potential Telemundo sale will hurt distribution opportunities for the upstart service. NBC, AOL Time Warner Inc. and Viacom Inc. are reported to be interested in obtaining the Spanish-language network.

"Whatever ends up happening will be good for the industry and the company," he said, although he couldn't provide any details concerning a possible divestiture.

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