Azteca taps sales prexy

De la Garza steps in for Woodie as 'Hechos 54' bows

MEXICO CITY — TV Azteca has named Carlos de la Garza president of sales and marketing for Azteca America, its U.S.-based Spanish-language network.

He will replace Phillip R. Woodie.

De la Garza will direct Azteca America’s Madison Avenue sales office in Gotham. Net, which bowed in July 2001, now has affiliates in two-thirds of Hispanic markets in the U.S. and is aggressively seeking to expand and challenge market leaders Telemundo and Univision, which is partially owned by Azteca rival Televisa.

De la Garza was chief exec of Movil Access, a Mexico-based wireless email and data company. Under his helm in June, Movil Access acquired a 74% stake in cellular service provider Iusacell from Vodafone and Verizon.

Movil Access is a subsidiary of Grupo Salinas, headed by Ricardo Salinas Pliego, which also owns TV Azteca. Before Movil Access, de la Garza was sales veep at TV Azteca in Mexico for six years.

‘Hechos 54’ bows

Net also has launched is first U.S.-produced news program, “Hechos 54” (Facts 54), on KAZA-54, the Los Angeles affiliate of upstart network Azteca America.

Azteca hired 30 new employees and spent more than $2 million to get “Hechos 54” up and running late last week, said Eduardo Urbiola, president of Azteca-54.

Newscast is a first for Azteca America, which after two years in the U.S. is struggling to compete with Univision and Telemundo in the Spanish-language market. Azteca’s south of the border rival, Grupo Televisa, has sizable holdings in Univision, the market leader.

In Los Angeles, “Hechos” replaces “Hechos America,” a Mexico-produced news program broadcast across the Azteca America network. New information program is the first fully non-Mexican production since Azteca entered the market in July 2001.

TV Azteca recently sent Elisa Salinas, aunt of company chairman Ricardo Salinas, to Los Angeles to head Azteca America operations.

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