Sì TV Looks to Diversify

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New YorkSì TV will add genre breadth to its linear lineup for 2008, as it looks to augment its Web presence this year.

Officials speaking at the 14 million-subscriber network’s upfront presentation to advertisers here last Tuesday said the service, which targets young-adult Latinos who speak English, has acquired an action-sports series, commissioned a pair of reality shows and is working toward a program that will integrate both short-form clips and user-generated content that will toggle between the network and its Web site.

Sì TV, which delves deeply into music via videos and performance shows, has purchased 44 half-hour installments of action-sports series Adrenalina. Slated to bow in next year’s first quarter, the show will be joined in that period by Total Combat, a reality series looking at a husband-and-wife team running a mixed-martial-arts fighting league.

In next year’s second quarter, senior vice president of programming Ed Leon said Sì TV will roll out eight episodes of Past Port, another reality series in which young Latinos will encounter the culture shock of visiting the country their parents call home. In addition, the network has commissioned 26 installments of Home Page, which will feature user-generated videos, video clips and host interludes. Viewer participation will extend to voting and community participation from Sì TV.com.

The new shows add to a legacy that has seen Sì TV roll out 16 original series since it premiered in February 2004. “We’ve produced 500 hours of original programming since launch” said Leon. “No one else was targeting this audience, so we have had to do it on our own.”

In addition to the new series, Sì TV is airing fresh episodes of its flagship entertainment show, The Drop, through June. And starting in early summer, Leon said, the third season of fashion show Styleyes will head to Miami’s South Beach, before migrating to Hollywood next year.

While the company said its content had generated 1.7 million streams on Comcast’s The Fan Internet-video site during its first two measurement periods, and its clips rank second only to Comedy Central on Verizon’s VCast service in the comedy genre, Sì TV want to build Web traffic. By December, Sì TV is eyeing growth to 1.8 million unique monthly users from its current low-six-figure count, as it plies cross-promotional elements and adds new sites. The company will unveil a new online-entertainment offering in June, followed in August by attendant trend sites tied to clothing, sneakers, cars and gadgets.

With these and other efforts involving the creation of content for other new-media platforms, vice president of ad sales Tracie McCormack anticipated that Sí TV will nearly double its base of advertisers to about 160 following this upfront season.

Steve Levin, senior vice president of ad sales, said the network’s audience of second- and third-generation Latinos consumes most media in English. Moreover, while English-speaking Latinos account for 60% of Hispanic buying power, Levin said, 90% of category ad dollars are being spent against an audience that only controls 40% of the purchasing clout.

“It’s time for budgets to change, to go beyond soccer and soaps,” he said.

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