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New travel channel takes on a Latin flavor

Yet another pan-regional channel hopes to woo viewers in Latin America. The world’s first 24-hour, Spanish-language channel offering travel-related programming for Latin America is scheduled to launch from Miami this October.

Travel Channel Latin America” is a product of Landmark Communications Inc., a 63-year-old, privately owned media conglomerate based in Norfolk, Va. Landmark owns “The Weather Channel,” plus interests in magazines, online services, television stations and 30 newspapers nationwide. The company has an operating budget of $400 million.

Programming aired on the new channel will range from fantasy to infotainment, geared toward business and leisure travelers, and viewers seeking mental vacations. Its target: viewers aged 25 to 54, with medium to high household incomes, said Jessica Rodriguez, director of international development for Landmark. She would not disclose start-up costs but said Landmark hopes the channel will break even within five years.

“We re a pioneer in travel with the 24-hour channel concept,” Rodriguez said. “We’re offering entertainment that plays up to viewers’ fantasies, plus useful and practical travel information. This will appeal to viewers, and also add value to the cable offerings in Latin America.”

Landmark is no stranger to travel programming: the company already owns Atlanta-based “The Travel Channel,” which started in 1992 and broadcasts on more than 830 cable systems nationwide in 20 million households on Satcom C4, Transponder 13. The channel experienced an ad revenue hike of 63% in ’94, with revenue up 20% this year.

“Travel” is a London-based cable and satellite web that began broadcasting to Britain and Scandinavia last year.

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