LATV Makes Leap to National Stage

LATV, a programming service for young Latinos that had previously only been offered in Los Angeles, is launching this week as a 24-hour, national network.

LATV, which just recently started to be uplinked for satellite delivery, is pitching its programming to cable and direct-broadcast satellite providers alike.

The network has positioned itself as an entertainment, lifestyle and news service for bilingual Hispanics aged 12 to 34.

Most recently, LATV has been reaching 4.4 million homes in the Los Angeles DMA. Local full-power TV station KJLA has carried it as a two- to four-hour program block.

Must-Carry Legs

Of its distribution, LATV has been reaching roughly 3 million cable homes, via must-carry on systems owned by MSOs such as Adelphia Communications Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp.

In addition to that distribution, LATV also has more than 700,000 satellite homes, through DirecTV Inc. and Dish Network, and 1.2 million broadcast homes.

But now, the new 24-hour, satellite-delivered cable network is spinning off as a standalone service that will have entirely different programming than the broadcast station, according to LATV president Daniel Crowe.

LATV doesn't have any carriage deals yet, said Crowe, but it has been talking to the industry's major players, including Comcast Corp. He declined to discuss the license fees the network is charging.

There has been an explosion of new networks targeting U.S. Hispanics. LATV's positioning in the market is that it offers 20 hours of originally produced shows a week from its Los Angeles studios, and that its programming in the past has outperformed services such as VH1, MTV: Music Television and Black Entertainment Television with Hispanic viewers in that locale.

For example, in October LATV's Best of LATV Live on Thursdays (9 p.m. to 11 p.m.) posted better numbers than MTV among Hispanics 12 to 24. And LATV performed better in Hispanic households than VH1, mun2 and Fox Sports en Español from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. during weeknights in October.

As a 24-hour network, LATV's programming wheel consists of an original six-hour block that airs from 6 p.m. to midnight, and is repeated a total of four times a day, Crowe said.

Self Produced

LATV was founded in 2001 by Walter Ulloa, the co-founder and CEO of Entravision.

"We're Hispanic-owned, a private company, and produce all of our own shows," Crowe said.

The network's primetime block includes live programming, with hosted shows such as LATV Live, as well as a Mexican music program. Crowe described the tone of the network as a cross between MTV's Total Request Live and NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Request@LATV, for example, permits viewers to make requests for songs they want to hear, as does Instant Request.

In fact, nine of LATV's 20 hours a week of original programming are live.