RIO DE JANEIRO — Pay TV programmer Cisneros Television Group has joined with Brazilian media group O Dia to launch MuchMusic Rio, a temporary service that lays the foundation for a full-fledged channel launch later this year.

The service kicked off with a live transmission Thursday of a Backstreet Boys concert from a Rio stadium.

Cisneros TV formed MuchMusic Iberoamerica, a partnership with Toronto-based Chum City Intl., several years ago to develop MuchMusic channels for Latin America.

Feevee MuchMusic Argentina was launched in 1992 by Ralph Haiek, now chief operating officer at Cisneros TV.

MuchMusic Argentina is available throughout Latin America via satcaster DirecTV, including its Brazil service.

MuchMusic Rio is a free-to-air channel broadcast over a UHF frequency that reaches about 50% of the households in the greater Rio metro region, Haiek said. It will eventually replace MuchMusic Argentina on the DirecTV Brasil lineup. Satcaster had 470,000 subs in Brazil at the end of last year.

MuchMusic Rio is initially airing three hours of programming daily, broadcast in a continuous loop. In about 60 days, it will increase to eight hours of daily programming, half of which will be produced in Rio.

The channel will feature Brazilian veejays and blocks of Brazilian music combined with MuchMusic international programming.

Cisneros TV will handle programming and production. O Dia will provide technical support, promotion via its media properties (which include one of Rio’s top daily papers as well as radio stations) and distribution in greater Rio via its UHF channels 44 and 59.

(Mary Sutter in Miami contributed to this report.)