July 21, 2006
IN2TV En Espanol Hit the Tubes on Wednesday

AOL's IN2TV, the company's ad-supported broadband Internet television channel which chiefly airs reruns from the Time-Warner library, expanded their coverage into Spanish-language programming this past week. The Web site is up-and-running, primarily with Spanish-language versions of American television shows.

The channel, called In2TV En Espanol, is an attempt to capture the growing influence and expanse of the Spanish-language television viewership in the country that content providers and advertisers alike have been somewhat unsure of what to do with . Many television shows that have drawn exceedingly well among Hispanic viewers have not seemed to be able to capitalize on that surplus audience much in terms of marketing or in terms of further writing shows to reach those audiences, unless they were programmed at Hispanic-Americans in the first place, as a few situation comedies have been.

AOL's project shows the growing awareness at the need to invest more time in reaching these people, although I'm not sure how much of a goodwill gesture the Spanish-language version of Perfect Strangers is. Talk about a show they're just trying to give away...I got a free episode of Perfect Strangers in the box with a TV show I bought last year...Anyway, the channel also features Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Falcon Crest, Hangin' with Mister Cooper, Growing Pains, the animated version of Beetlejuice, and sci-fi hit Babylon 5.

There's also a Spanish-language version of the syndicated show from 1988 through 1990 hosted by the horror film character Freddy Kreuger, called Freddy's Nightmares, which reminds me of once watching one of the Nighmare on Elm Street films on a Spanish-language channel. Voiceover dubbing is just never quite as scary, but that's what IN2TV uses.

There are more than a dozen other shows also available on the IN2TV service for Spanish-speaking viewers.

Growing focus has been put on the Hispanic market since last year, . Late last year, both Telemundo and Univision announced that they would be tracked by Nielsen, and Nielsen has tracked the number of Hispanic viewers who follow English-language programming for some time as part of their demographic information.

It should really come as no surprise, then, that advertisers have been quick to follow the indications of these numbers, and that increases in Spanish-language ad sales in America, in addition to online ad sales, have been driving an otherwise lackluster advertising performance. Since AOL's new product is poised to be a target for both expanding advertising markets, the product could be a real winner...that is, depending on how much Spenser: For Hire Hispanic viewers really want to see.

Oh, and by hit the tubes, I didn't mean the old television tube...I mean the Internet, which, of course, is made from tubes, as you've probably heard.