Univision gigantes

B'caster to launch 2nd web on ex-USA stations

NEW YORK — Spanish-lingo broadcaster Univision formally announced Wednesday plans to launch a second network using the stations it just purchased from Barry Diller’s USA Networks.

New net, to launch in January, has no name yet, and execs were vague on the programming, although they do plan to sell it to advertisers this summer.

New venture will carry the 2002 World Cup games, a nightly sports show, special events and a programming block for kids.

Idea is to capture a portion of U.S. Spanish speakers who don’t currently watch much Spanish-lingo TV. That might mean skewing younger and more male. Execs promised more details in coming weeks.

Big potential

The 24-hour net, headed by Jorge Delgado, former general manager of Univision’s KUVS, will reach 80% of Hispanic homes right off the bat.

Univision is looking to position itself as a full-service media company with two broadcast networks, cable net Galavision, Web site Univision.com and a newly launched music group.

Execs at the company’s upfront presentation Wednesday at Lincoln Center dismissed speculation that it wants to launch a theatrical distribution arm but said it will continue to be an avid acquirer of Spanish-language films.

$1 trillion potential

Univision’s big play at the crowded upfront was the recent census, which showed a giant jump in the U.S. Hispanic population to more than 35 million. Company said total Hispanic buying power this year is about $444 billion and could grow to more than $1 trillion by 2010.

Given those stats, execs have been trying to convince advertisers to move 20% of their budgets from the other networks to Univision and expect their upfront take to be flat or up despite a weak ad climate. Univision pulled in $500 million last year.

This season, it will produce more than 50% of its programming in the U.S. Most of the rest is from Mexico’s Grupo Televisa, Venezuela’s Venevision and Peru’s Producciones Iguana.

Setting the slate

Highlights for the upcoming season include “Los Metiches,” a Univision-produced, original weekly evening comedy hour; “Noche de Gigantes,” a one-hour weekly variety show; and “Pica y Se Extiende,” a weekly evening gossip/variety show with hosts El Gordo and La Flaca.

Novelas include teen-oriented “Amigas y Rivales,” family drama “La Intrusa” and “El Derecho de Nacer,” a remake of the 1950s novela.

Net also will deliver the miniseries on the life of Gloria Trevi it promised last year, more than 10 original motion pictures and the U.S. broadcast premieres of “Cilantro y Perejil” (Parsley & Coriander), “Sin Remitente” (Return to Sender) and “Hasta Morir” (Until We Die).

Also slated are “Mujeres Insumisas” (Defiant Women) and “El Pais de No Pasa Nada” (The Country Where Nothing Ever Happens).