Group Inc. is the second largest Spanish language television network
in the United States. It reaches 86% of Hispanic households in 53
U.S. markets as well as over 19 countries in Latin America through
its owned-and-operated stations, affiliates and syndication.
Group Inc. was formed in December 1986 by Saul Steinberg and Henry
Silverman of Reliance Capital Group L. P. who were interested in
moving into the Spanish-language market. They began by purchasing
stations in Los Angeles, California, Miami, Florida, New York City,
and Puerto Rico. In 1987, Telemundo began network broadcasting with
Noticiero Telemundo, a world and national news program produced
by Hispanic American Broadcasting Company in Miami. Later that year,
Deportes Telemundo, a weekly two-hour round-up of sports
highlights from around the world, premiered. Between 1988 and 1991,
the network expanded both its station holdings and affiliates and
its programming. Stations and affiliates in Houston, Dallas/Ft.Worth,
McAllen/Brownsville, El Paso, Lubbock, and San Antonio, Texas; Albuquerque,
New Mexico; Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona; and Yakima, Washington
increased Telemundo's coverage to 78% of the Hispanic households
in the United States. Meanwhile, U.S.-produced programming also
expanded, including Noticiero Telemundo/CNN, a joint venture
with CNN to produce a nightly national news programs; Cocina
Crisco, the first Spanish language cooking show produced in
the U.S.; Angelica Mi Vida, the first Spanish language telenovela
(soap opera) produced in this country and based on the lives of
Hispanic Americans; Cara a Cara, a talk show starring Maria
Laria; and Ocurrio Asi, a tabloid news program with sensational
stories from the United States and Latin America. By 1991, Telemundo
was producing 54% of its programming in the United States.
1992, Joaquin F. Blaya, a 22-year veteran of Spanish language media
and formerly President and chief executive officer of Univision
Holdings, Inc., joined Telemundo as president and chief executive
officer. Under his leadership, Telemundo continued its expansion.
New programming targeting younger audiences and second generation
Hispanics such as Ritmo Internacional and Padrisimo,
was developed. In a joint venture among Telemundo, Univision and
Nielsen Media Research, Blaya also created the first nation-wide
ratings service focused on the Hispanic community's viewing habits.
In another joint venture with Reuters and British Broadcasting Corporation
World Television, Blaya set in motion a 24-hour Spanish language
television news service called Telenoticias. By mid-1993, Telemundo
was in financial trouble and filed for bankruptcy under Chapter
11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Through a subsequent financial restructuring,
Apollo Advisors L.P. became the major shareholder in late 1994.
In March 1995, the corporate restructuring began with the naming
of Roland A. Hernandez as president and chief executive officer
of Telemundo. A native of Los Angeles, Hernandez is the founder
and owner of Interspan Communications, which established KFWD-TV,
the Telemundo affiliate in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas and a member
of the Board of Directors of Telemundo Group Inc. One of his first
moves was opening Telemundo's first West Coast production facility
in Hollywood's famed Raliegh Studies in order to attract the Spanish
speaking talent on both coasts and in order for Telemundo's programming
to reflect the full cultural spectrum that is Hispanic America.
of 1995, Telemundo Group Inc., consisted of six full-power owned-and-operated
stations in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco/San Jose,
San Antonio, and Houston/Galveston. The company also operated low-power
stations in five other markets, and one station in Puerto Rico.
In addition, eighteen full-power and thirty-two low-power stations
were affiliated with Telemundo and 614 cable systems carried Telemundo's
signal. This represented a coverage of 53 markets and 86% of Hispanic
households in the United States.
Courtesy of Telemundo
of 1995, Telemundo produced 50% of its programming in the United
States at the network's production facilities in Hialeah, Florida,
Los Angeles, California, and Puerto Rico. Programming consisted
of telenovelas, movies, game shows, variety shows, sports
programs, talk shows, and news programs. Movies and telenovelas
represented the bulk of the imported programming. In April 1995,
Telemundo added Dando y Dando to its game show line up along
with El Gran Juego de la Oca. Also in 1995, La Hora Lunatica
variety show was added to the noon hour. Telemundo capitalized on
interest in sports with the weekend programming of Boxeo, Futbol
Telemundo, and Marcador Final. Talk shows, Lo Mejor
de Sevcec and El y Ella, are popular daytime programming.
The world and national news programs is Telenoticias con Raul
Peimbert that is seen not only in the United States but also
in Latin America.
future of Telemundo and Spanish language television is unclear.
Having emerged from bankruptcy in late 1994, financial problems
are still a factor in its survival as well as its competition with
Univision. It does seem, however that the Hispanic market in the
United States and Latin America is growing and is a prime target
for advertisers and media. Given its fundamental objective (i.e.,
to make its programming relevant to the broadest base of Hispanic
viewers in this country) it is to be expected that Telemundo will
continue to move forward in meeting its many challenges.
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