Denver media expect census to fuel demand for Latino outlets |

Denver media expect census to fuel demand for Latino outlets

Joanne Ostrow
Denver Post Television Critic

There was more than community service at play when Spanish-language Univision began hyping the U.S. census last week with its high-profile TV campaign “Ya Es Hora, Hagase Contar” (It’s Time, Make Yourself Count).

Denver media executives know the Latino population is booming here and expect a thorough national head count to quantify their potential for growing audiences – and ad revenues.

“How big and powerful is the community?” asks Luisa Collins, news director of Univision’s KCEC in Denver. She has a hunch. “I can’t wait for the census.”

Even before the count is official, executives here in the nation’s 15th-largest Latino market say Denver’s Spanish-language outlets are reaping rewards. So are audiences of all types.

The number of Spanish stations is increasing, and programming is ramping up in the face of increased competition. Even English-language viewers can see a difference as other channels boost their coverage of the Latino community and expand Latino editorial staffs.

“The Spanish media in Denver are starting to mature,” according to Rafael Rodriguez of Denver’s Hispanidad, a full-service Hispanic ad agency. And that will “impact the way a lot of entities look at the market as well.”

If you’ve seen McDonald’s commercials airing in Spanish on mainstream TV networks, you’ve glimpsed the future. Savvy marketers see a gold mine in an ethnic population that could come in at 50 million this time around.

The thriving, relatively young market segment spends enough money to drive consumer trends. According to research cited by Telemundo affiliate KDEN, annual Latino buying power in the Denver market is $13.5 billion. Nationally, the figure tops $1 trillion.

The evolution is already reflected in ratings: In Denver, the 5 p.m. Spanish-language newscast on Univision – once an also-ran – now regularly beats English-language competitors, often ranking second behind front-runner KUSA-Channel 9.

Those numbers have inspired a lot of activity. No. 2 Spanish station Telemundo has stepped up its offerings and now Estrella TV, a new Spanish network that’s seen success in Los Angeles, will launch in Denver on KWHD Channel 53 this summer.

Azteca America, the Spanish network owned by Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, recently relaunched its headline service, “Informativo Extra” and, in combination with Channel 7 here, brought on anchor Luis Treto, formerly of KRCA-TV Los Angeles.

Telemundo this week launches “Enfoque,” a Sunday morning public-affairs show with host Jose Diaz-Balart that’s the Latino version of “Meet the Press.”

And these stations want the revenue that comes with popularity.

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