Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spanish network Estrella launches but will its star shine or fade?

Jay Leno isn't the only one in Burbank taking a big gamble today. LBI Media Inc., a Burbank-based family-owned broadcaster, has picked today to launch a Hispanic television network.

Estrella TV will reach about 70% of the nation's Hispanic television households. LBI Media is the parent of Liberman Broadcasting, which owns several major-market television stations including KRCA Los Angeles. Several other broadcasters including Hearst Television, Belo Corp. and Sunbeam Television have signed on as affiliates.

KRCA has already become something of a presence in the Los Angeles television market as the station has made some inroads on its bigger competitors Univision and Telemundo. Its prime-time ratings jumped 30% in the 18 to 49 demographic in July.

Still, this is hardly the ideal time to launch a new channel, particularly a broadcast network. Besides a tough economy, Univision and NBC Universal's Telemundo are also fairly entrenched and have stronger television stations carrying their programming.

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