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TV Azteca adding 5 U.S. affils, filling out to 38

Co. announces added channels, telenovelas at its first upfront

MEXICO CITY– TV Azteca has acquired five new U.S. affiliates for its Azteca America network, increasing its north of the border Hispanic-market coverage to 78%.

The announcement was made during its first U.S. upfront advertising event in New York on Monday; since October the net has added 11 channels.

The latest affiliates are in Brownsville-McAllen, Texas (K64FM), Tampa, Fla. (WXAX), Hartford, Conn. (WHCT), Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (WHOA) and Boise, Idaho (KCBB), bringing Azteca America’s penetration to 38 markets.

The upfront is a sign of the seriousness of Azteca’s commitment to gaining U.S. auds. Azteca America still runs a distant third in the hot U.S. Hispanic TV marketplace, behind Univision and Telemundo, but has been making significant strides to catch up.

In New York, Azteca execs announced it would air its first telenovelas based on Hispanics in the U.S. They are: “Belinda, el amor hace justicia” (Belinda, Love Makes Justice) on June 28; and “La heredera” (The Heiress) on July 4, which crosses a female graduate student with a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

Azteca America also offers a U.S.-produced news program and special sports coverage for U.S. auds as well as heavy doses of TV Azteca’s regular Mexican programming.