MTV Networks Aims at Latino Market
By DAVID BAUDER
The Associated Press
Friday, September 22, 2006; 5:25 PM
NEW YORK -- The MTV Networks are starting a new channel aimed at young Latinos called MTV Tr3s. Tr3s, pronounced as the Spanish word for three, begins operation on Monday and follows MTV, MTV2 and eight other related networks operating in the United States. It will be seen on some digital cable systems, on the DirecTV satellite system or various low-power broadcast stations. It'll be music-heavy at its start, with programs featuring the music of Shakira, Sean Paul, Jeremias, the Kumbia Kings and others.
"I look at it as a pop culture destination because these kids have not really had their music or culture and what is really defining U.S. Latino culture on a channel 24 hours a day," said Lucia Ballas-Traynor, MTV Tr3s senior vice president and general manager.
"MiTRL," a version of the MTV hit "Total Request Live," will be the network's signature music show and has already snared commitments from Ricky Martin and Alejandro Sanz to debut their latest releases.
Latino versions of MTV hit shows "My Super Sixteen" and "Pimp My Ride" will be created, transformed into "Quiero Mis Quinces" and "Pimpeando."
Carlos Santos, a Los Angeles-based actor-comic, has signed on as the first MTV Tr3s video jockey.
MTV, owned by Viacom Inc., is trying a new strategy of buying low-power broadcast networks in a handful of cities like San Antonio and Austin, Texas, to reach potential viewers who don't have cable, Ballas-Traynor said.
She said the company is negotiating for an outlet that will give it broad distribution in Los Angeles, which it won't have at the start.
MTV Tr3s has also signed a deal with Wal-Mart to promote Latin music in many of its stores.