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Warner vid exercises Latino muscle

Riding the success of its first wave of Spanish-language videos during Hispanic Heritage Month last September, Warner Home Video has created a new brand for its Latino videos targeted at U.S. consumers, and added a fitness title to its second batch of titles coming on Feb. 28.

Popular and critically acclaimed titles under the new Coleccion Latina will include “La Ultima noche” (The Last Night), the final installment in a theatrical drama trilogy from Mexico that began with “La Primera noche” (The First Night); two thriller titles from Spain, “Camara oscura” (“Deadly Cargo”) and “Hormigas en la boca” (Ants in the Mouth); and the first Spanish-language fitness title in the line, “Mejorando tu vida con Gabriela Spanic Vol. 1” (Improving Your Life With Gabriela Spanic Vol. 1), the latter produced in the U.S.

Eva Davis, Warner Home Video’s VP of multicultural marketing, said all four titles in the studio’s first wave last year ranked among the top 20% of the 74 Spanish-language releases in the U.S. in terms of revenue per title, and two were the top titles in the category.

Although even the biggest titles in this category dominated by indie suppliers sell only about 25,000 units each, Warner is developing a market the studio believes has the potential to become very large. Studio reports that sales of original Spanish-language DVDs grew 83% from 2000 to 2005.

In the meantime, as the market represents only a tiny percentage of overall revenue, Warner plans to go after the market on a volume basis, releasing a new wave of titles at least every two to three months. Next up on April 11 is a set of three double-feature Spanish-language movies.

Warner will also promote Latino-themed catalog titles around Cinco de Mayo. Davis said more and more of the nation’s biggest mass merchants and grocery and drug chains in markets with a heavy Spanish-speaking customer base are creating Spanish-language video sections.

Venezuelan-born Spanic, who became an international star on Televisa’s “La Usupadora,” is under contract with Telemundo NBC (USA), on which she recently starred in the net’s top-rated “La Prisionera.”

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