Sep 24, 2006 — NEW YORK (Billboard) - With original programming, its own VJs and an ambitious distribution plan, MTV Tr3s — formerly known as MTV Espanol — aims to be more than just MTV in Spanish.

The 24-hour bilingual music channel aimed at young U.S. Latinos is relaunching September 25 with the goal of reaching 55 percent of Latino TV households, or 5.5 million homes, by the end of the year.

MTV Espanol reached 3.1 million Latino households and consisted mainly of eight-hour video blocks that repeated throughout the day, with no on-air talent. The channel now has its own VJs, among them comedian Carlos Santos, who will host "MiTRL," a weekly version of MTV's flagship video countdown. The first episode will feature a live performance by Alejandro Sanz and world premieres of videos by Sanz and Ricky Martin.

The MTV shows "My Super Sweet 16" and "Pimp My Ride" will be offered as "Quiero Mis Quinces," a show about quinceanera parties, and "Pimpeando," which shows off car culture. Subtitles will appear when Spanish is spoken.

"This is an experiment in what this market wants and needs," says Jose Tillan, the channel's senior vice president of music programming and talent strategy. "A lot of folks that have been doing Latin (programming) in the U.S. for a long time are still struggling with the concept that, hey, maybe Latin is a culture, not a language, in the U.S."

The introductory show "Hola My Name Is MTV Tr3s," which features interviews with pop acts Julieta Venegas, the Kumbia Kings and rapper Pitbull, will air on MTV Tr3s, MTV and MTV2 the week of launch. Nelly Furtado and reggaeton group Calle 13 also will perform in a music special September 25 that will be repeated on the other two channels.

Other programming priorities are the November 1 premiere of Martin's "Unplugged" special and the Premios MTV Latinoamerica, the music awards show that takes place October 19 in Mexico City.


In addition to programming changes, MTV Tr3s hopes to boost viewership by switching from a cable-and satellite-only distribution to one that includes free broadcast channels. The company will announce affiliations in the coming weeks with low- and full-power local TV stations within the top 25 Latino TV markets.

Though the Latino youth market is growing, so is competition to entertain it. Mun2, which is owned by NBC-Universal's Telemundo, has seen ratings increase since it relaunched last fall and now reaches about 4 million Latino homes. Entertainment channel LATV is available on pay and free TV in Southern California and plans to go national via hybrid distribution this year or next. Los Angeles-based Si TV launched in 2004 and reportedly is attracting more advertisers. (MTV Latin America and MTV Puerto Rico are separate entities.)

The big players in Spanish TV — Univision and Telemundo — still have far greater U.S. viewership than the up-and-coming cable networks.

But in addition to the already-established MTV brand, the new channel can count a marketing partnership with Wal-Mart in its arsenal. The nation's largest music retailer will have an MTV Tr3s-branded music section rolling out in 900 of its stores where it will stock specially packaged CDs and DVDs from the channel.

vezi aici: