- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Junior Spanish-language network TeleFutura is closing in on rival Telemundo, TeleFutura parent Univision Communications Inc. said yesterday.

During its fourth quarter, from Sept. 25 to Dec. 31, five-year-old TeleFutura reported a 44 percent annual jump in prime-time viewership among the key demographic of Hispanic adults between the ages of 18 and 49 to 467,000, according to the Nielsen Hispanic Television Index.

Meanwhile, Telemundo, which is owned by NBC Universal Inc., saw an 8 percent drop in prime-time audience numbers during that same period among the 18-to-49 demographic, to 575,000 viewers.

TeleFutura officials say the gains — the company recorded similar double-digit growth in viewers aged 2 and above and adults 18-34 categories — underscore the success of the network’s “counterprogramming” approach, in which it complements sister network Univision Network by showing content from alternative genres throughout the day. TeleFutura, for example, airs movies during traditional prime-time novella slots, and broadcasts novellas against news and talk shows.

“Without a doubt, viewers are connecting in record numbers to the dynamic mix of programming only TeleFutura offers,” said Bert Medina, the network’s senior vice president and operating manager.

TeleFutura had higher all-day ratings as well, again showing double-digit growth rates while Telemundo viewership slipped.

In addition to airing more hours of sports than other Spanish networks, TeleFutura broadcasts the popular game show “Que Dice La Gente,” the Spanish-language version of “Family Feud.” It also boasts of having Spanish television’s largest film library.

The most-watched Hispanic network, Univision Network, came in fifth behind the four major broadcast networks in terms of prime-time viewers between 18 and 49 during the fourth-quarter at 1.1 million, a spokeswoman said.

TeleFutura reaches 87 percent of Hispanic households, compared with Univision Network’s 99 percent. Telemundo broadcasts to 93 percent.

Comcast Corp. customers in the Washington area can view the cluster of Hispanic stations: Univision via WFDC-TV (Channel 14), Telefutura affiliate WMDO-TV (Channel 15) and Telemundo affiliate WZDC-TV (Channel 16).

In other news

• The Politico, Allbritton Communications’ startup, has nabbed the Monday-through-Thursday political-news spot on all-news radio station WTOP-FM (103.5) from the Hill newspaper.

Allbritton announced earlier this week that Politico reporters will be heard at 5:20 p.m. discussing the latest political developments, starting Jan. 22, one day before the debut of the Politico newspaper and Web site. The deal adds to the existing partnership between Allbritton-owned WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and WTOP, which features ABC 7’s marquee weather forecaster Doug Hill weekday mornings.

• The Parents Television Council (PTC), the Los Angeles-based group focused on family-friendly programming, presented its first “PTC Integrity in Entertainment Award” to the Hallmark Channel. The award lauds the Crown Media Holdings network for “creating, distributing and sponsoring quality entertainment that is free from graphic and gratuitous sex, violence and profanity.”

Channel Surfing runs on Wednesdays. Call 202/636-3139 or e-mail krowland@washing tontimes.com.

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