Scripps Readies Hispanic Network Launch

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Following extensive testing with Latino focus groups in key U.S. markets, Scripps Networks has decided to go ahead with a planned Hispanic television network that combines the genres found on Food Network and Home & Garden Television.

The new, still-unnamed network will focus on lifestyle subjects including food, crafts and interior design.

Last fall — when Multichannel News
first reported Scripps's intentions — the programmer was testing pilot shows in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

"The response was extremely favorable," Scripps vice president of international development Kristen Jordan said.

Target audiences were receptive to the lifestyle genre, especially when programs were geared specifically to them, she said.

"It differed in terms of structuring and pacing and styles of production," Jordan said, adding that the programmer's mission of providing useful how-to information didn't change.

The network will air mostly original programs, rather than fare from Food or HGTV that's been dubbed into Spanish.

"It's more important that the content be produced with a Hispanic perspective," Jordan said.

"Advertisers have become very aware of the fact that this is a population with a tremendous buying power, and it hasn't been reached in the right way," she added.

Though cooking shows might include fare from around the world, they will focus mainly on foods from Spanish-speaking countries, so viewers could find recipes from their native countries and other regions — whether Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean or South America.

When producing home-design shows for the Hispanic network, Scripps will keep the importance of family and community in mind. That will influence the choice of topics and guests, as well as any on-camera interaction, Jordan said.

Scripps also plans to support the network with a Spanish-language Web site shortly after its launch. "It's part of the way we all communicate now," Jordan said.

The programmer may also make the Hispanic cooking and how-to shows available to operators' video-on-demand platforms, as it does with its English-language programs, she said.

The Hispanic community's influence in the U.S. goes well beyond its buying power or its appeal as a target for new television networks, Jordan noted, offering up a specific example.

"Salsa is more popular than ketchup now," she said. "The culture of the Hispanic community has enriched all our lives here."

No launch date has been set for the new Hispanic network, although Jordan said she expects an announcement within the next few months.

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