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Entravision Launches 2 Spanish TV Stations

Media: New outlets in Santa Barbara and in Tampa, Fla., reflect emergence of strong Latino markets in the U.S.

March 30, 2001|LEE ROMNEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Santa Monica-based Entravision Communications Corp. on Thursday announced the launch of two Spanish-language television stations--in Santa Barbara and in Tampa, Fla.--reflecting the strong emergence of new Latino markets across the country.

Both cities have seen explosive Latino population growth over the last decade, far exceeding the relatively stagnant growth of the nonminority populations there.

The 2000 census data for Santa Barbara were not yet available late Thursday, but 1999 data indicated that the city's Latino population had grown by 64% since 1990 and is expected to constitute a third of the total by 2005. The non-Latino population remained relatively unchanged.

Previously released data for Florida showed that Tampa's Latino population grew by 90% in the last decade, more than seven times the rate of non-Latinos.

"There's a pretty significant demographic shift taking place in the U.S. It's historical," said Entravision Chairman and Chief Executive Walter F. Ulloa. "For companies like us, I think it's terrific."

Publicly traded Entravision is the largest affiliate of Univision Communications Inc., an Entravision investor that operates the country's top-rated Spanish-language broadcasting network.

The new stations--also Univision affiliates--brings Entravision into 22 of the country's top 50 Latino markets. The company also has new stations in Boston and in Odessa and Amarillo, Texas, Ulloa said, and recently upgraded others to full power in Washington and Orlando, Fla. The Tampa station replaces the company's former low-power station there.

The growth in the country's Latino population in places such as Santa Barbara--as well as in relatively recent migration hot spots such as Las Vegas and North Carolina--is feeding a Spanish-language broadcasting boom that probably will intensify in coming years.

Several new Spanish-language broadcasters also have announced a push into the U.S. market in the last year, intensifying competition. And the growth is occurring when the English-language television market "has a lot of challenges in front of it," placing an even greater spotlight on Spanish-language opportunities, Ulloa said.

"We've been talking about this growth for years, and all of a sudden now there's a lot more attention to it," Ulloa said.

Entravision also operates a Spanish-language radio network serving 23 markets through 47 affiliates and 57 owned and operated radio stations. It also owns New York's main Spanish-language newspaper and 11,000 billboards in New York and Los Angeles. The mixed assets allow the company to offer integrated marketing plans to advertisers and to cross-promote its properties in the biggest Latino markets, Ulloa said.

The news comes on the heels of a company announcement earlier this month of first-quarter financial shortfalls due to weak advertising sales.

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