Tr3s to Speak More Spanish

Research Prompts Network to Tweak Programming Strategy
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When Fernando Gastón joined Viacom-owned Tr3s as general manager in September, one of his first tasks was to better understand the TV viewing habits of the network’s audience, as well as the type of programming they demand.

Using recent data and proprietary research, Gastón and his team found that despite the population growth among second- and third-generation Latinos, Spanish is still very prominent — especially in multigenerational homes.

Research showed that 45% of 18-to-34-year-old Hispanics — the Tr3s target audience — still live with their parents, while as many as 59% of Hispanic 18-to-29-year-olds have yet to leave the nest. As a result, there’s a lot of co-viewing going on in homes where parents and their young-adult children are sharing the TV set.

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“We realized we had to offer a grid that addressed this co-viewing trend,” said Gastón, a veteran TV executive from Argentina, who has worked for MTV, VH1 and more recently Comedy Central Latin America.

It is not coincidence that most of Tr3s’ newer programming is in Spanish, including a growing number of telenovelas and fiction series that hail from Latin America. Among some of this year’s new are telenovelas Pedro el escamoso and Vecinos, both of which air in primetime.

“Since we incorporated these telenovelas, we saw a triple-digit growth increase in our audience,” Gastón said.

Other upcoming dramas include Niñas mal 2, a popular teen novela from Mexico, and Fortuna, a co-production with Mexico’s Argos.

In addition to telenovelas, Tr3s is also releasing new formats, including Show Business Extra, a Spanish-language daily entertainment news format hosted by Gaby Acuña, and En Tour, a music-driven format offering viewers exclusive access to the biggest Latin concerts of the year.

En Tour premieres April 20 at 7 p.m. (ET), with reggateon dour Wisin & Yandel in concert from Puerto Rico.

The network, which will hold an upfront presentation in New York on May 15, is also expected to be the U.S. home for Comedy Central Latin America’s El Roast, featuring Mexican comedians Héctor Suárez and son Héctor Suárez Gomis.

The first episode of El Roast will be taped in Mexico City in May; its U.S. premiere date has not been announced.

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