Network targets bicultural Latino audience

NuvoTV is fielding the largest slate of original programming in the indie cabler’s eight-year history as it faces heightened competition for the attention of young Hispanic viewers.

The programs, to be unveiled Tuesday at the cabler’s upfront in Gotham, include an interview program hosted by Mario Lopez and a look at L.A.’s celebrity DJ scene.

NuvoTV targets what it calls the bicultural Latino aud with English-lingo programming. It was a trailblazer when the cabler bowed in early 2004 as Si TV, but now NBCUniversal’s Mun2 and MTV’s Tres are actively courting the same fast-growing demo, although those nets are largely Spanish-driven in contrast to NuvoTV.

The increased competish “validates the space we’re in,” said Maria Perez-Brown, NuvoTV senior veep of programming and development. “There’s a business proposition there to reach the third- and fourth-generation Latinos. They live their lives in English. They may or may not speak Spanish, but they’re language of preference for consuming media is English.”

NuvoTV’s new slate was influenced by research with its target demo on what viewers felt was missing from the English-lingo TV landscape.

With a subscriber base of about 30 million, NuvoTV has reached the distribution benchmark that has made the channel more attractive to advertisers and creative talent.

“Mario Lopez 1-on-1″ will feature interviews with top Latino celebs and is produced with 3 Arts Entertainment.

“The 7 of Clubs” follows the exploits of DJ Dirty Draws (aka Jesus Cortez) as he works the L.A. club circuit. Perez-Brown said the show bears a resemblance to an unscripted “Entourage.”

“Fight Factory” focuses on Latino MMA fighters; “Curvy Girls” revolves around plus-size models pressures of family life and the catwalk; and “Low-Ballers” centers on auto enthusiasts who are challenged to overhaul beat-up cars to resell for top dollar.

NuvoTV’s signature “Model Latina” competition show is also returning for a sixth season. The cabler has nabbed off-net rights to demo-friendly shows including TLC’s “Miami Ink” and “L.A. Ink.”

The new programming aims to broaden the NuvoTV aud. The increased investment comes as a sign of faith in the cabler’s potential from owners that include venture capital firms Columbia Capital and RHO Capital (Time Warner and Dish Network also own small stakes), according to NuvoTV chief exec Michael Schwimmer.

NuvoTV has seen improved distribution in key Hispanic markets during the past few years with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Dish Network and Verizon, though it has yet to reach a deal with DirecTV. Most of its carriage is in the general entertainment cable tier rather than the Spanish-lingo tier, which helps NuvoTV draw ad dollars from general-market advertisers as well as those targeting Hispanic auds, Schwimmer said.

“Distributors have finally become convinced that they need to be successful with the Hispanic consumers in their footprint, and they’ve finally realized that simply offering a package of Spanish-language (channels) is not going to get them there. Our distribution partners understand that we’re a network that can do a lot for them.”

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