Fox has struck a deal with Meruelo Group’s KWHY-TV Channel 22 in Los Angeles to be the flagship station for the Spanish-language network it is launching later this fall.
MundoFox, a joint venture between Fox and Colombian broadcaster RCN Television, also unveiled deals with TV stations in more than 10 cities including Miami. It still does not have an outlet in New York City, one of the largest Latino markets, but plans to at some point.
With plans to program 16 hours a day, MundoFox will bet on a mix of telenovelas and teleseries, which are soap opera-type shows aimed at a more male audience.
Overall, MundoFox hopes to differentiate itself from Univision and Telemundo by targeting primarily younger Latino viewers, as opposed to Latinos of all ages.
“We intend to be different in a way that the Fox network was different,” said Hernan Lopez, president and chief executive of Fox International Channels, adding that MundoFox shows will strive to be “edgier and bolder.”
Many of the shows on MundoFox will be imports that air elsewhere around the globe. The network will also carry sports and reality programs.
Although Fox parent News Corp. owns an independent station in Los Angeles, KCOP-TV Channel 13, that in theory could have been a home for MundoFox, Lopez said the network went with KWHY because it already carries Spanish-language programming and thus is known to that audience.
While the content from MundoFox will cut into hours available for KWHY's own content, KWHY President Xavier Gutierrez said the “vision of the station is to be Los Angeles’ local Spanish-language channel.” The station, which now has two hours of local news during the week and one hour on weekends, wants to expand, Gutierrez said.
The move conforms with an overall media market trend that seeks to capitalize upon the nation’s growing Latino population, now estimated to be more than 50 million. Univision is the dominant player, followed by Telemundo. ESPN, Univision and Fox all have sports channels for Latino viewers as well. Last month Comcast Corp. announced two new cable networks looking to tap the growing market.
-- Joe Flint