CNN Latino expanding to court more US Hispanics

CNN Latino is expanding its broadcast channel in Miami looking to win over a bigger share of the growing Hispanic market, a top executive said Monday.

"CNN is a broadcast television offering that has more variety, that is offering news but with very current ideas about what news people are interested in. It's not just hard news, round-the-clock," CNN en Espanol vice president Cynthia Hudson told AFP.

Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States.

More than half of Latinos (over 60 percent) are of Mexican origin or descent. But other large groups of Hispanic-Americans come from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela.

In the past, Mexican-owned channels broadcasting in Spanish and catering to US Hispanics often were criticized for aiming their programming only at people of Mexican origin or descent.

CNN Latino, part of the US network's Spanish-language network, started broadcasting in January in Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Tampa.

Now it is expanding its operation in Miami, one of the largest US Hispanic markets.

But "we know perfectly well that we are not just targeting one group of people, one demographic," Hudson stressed.

"Thinking that there is some one homogeneous community we are aiming at would just be a mistake. And that is the heart of our strategy."

In US East Coast markets, there is more Mexican and Central American news.

But in New York, the biggest Hispanic communities are Puerto Rican and Dominican, she said. And in highly-diverse Miami, the largest Hispanic groups have their roots in Cuba and Venezuela.

Ratings firm Nielsen says Hispanics make up 17 percent of the US television market but 19 percent of the 18-49 adult demographic -- the people to whom advertisers are keenest to sell.

"As long as the majority of Hispanics are still speaking Spanish, Spanish will remain a growth opportunity for us," she said. "We are seeing that new generations (of immigrants) want their kids to be bilingual. So Spanish isn't disappearing, in fact, it's growing."