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MTV Tr3s Takes Aim at Youth Demo

9/29/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

When it comes to reaching young Latinos, MTV Tr3s is now the programmer’s calling card. MTV Networks on Sept 25 officially relaunched its Latino-targeted music service MTV en Español, essentially a video jukebox, as Tr3s, which is taking aim at Hispanics aged 12 to 34, particularly those 12 to 24.

That puts the network squarely in competition with SìTV and NBC Universal’s mun2 for a group that resides in what Tr3s general manager Lucia Ballas-Traynor calls a “unique hybrid world melded between Latino and U.S. lifestyles.” She also refers to these young people as “gatekeepers and key influencers in their homes and communities.”

In flipping the switch, Tr3s is offering a mix of bilingual fare, including a heavy emphasis on music videos, spanning genres from pop, urban and rock, with an eye and ear toward long-form music shows, documentaries and lifestyle series. To that end, the Tr3s lineup includes Latino versions of MTV favorites like TRL (MiTRL) and Pimp My Ride (Pimpeando).

However, what the programming lineup evolves into will be shaped by several factors. Tr3s is already gaining feedback from wireless and online initiatives, and will be conducting a significant research project to provide a deeper understanding of this market next year, according to Ballas-Traynor.

Moreover, she said Tr3s will benefit from “other synergies” with the MTV family over the next couple of weeks. “We’ll see how the audience reacts to that as we build our programming,” she explained.

On the distribution front, the network currently counts some 2.8 million Hispanic TV households. That’s about 25% of the 11.2 million universe of U.S. Latino TV households.

Over the next three months, she said the service expects more launches with existing affiliates to add reach through deals with owners of low-power or full-power TV stations in key markets, notably the No. 1 Hispanic market, Los Angeles.

“We can help cable operators reach into this community and drive sales of [high-speed data] and their bundles,” she said, declining to discuss the rate card.

In looking to augment its subscriber base via this “hybrid” distribution strategy, Ballas-Traynor expects to reach 5.67 million homes, or one-half of the Latino TV universe, by the close of October, and 6.1 million (55%) by year-end.

September