Canal Ella: Todo Mujer. Todos Las Días.
The television and film industries are clamoring to get the attention of Latino/a audiences, and on Feb. 14th, yet another corporate giant unveiled their plan for garnering this much coveted audience. MGM, on the heels of quite a few other power players has launched their new Canal Ella, with the very specific target market of Hispanic women.
MGM’s new 24hr Spanish-language cable network channel is intended to appeal to all Latinas, describing itself as a Pan-Latin American channel and claiming the slogan, “Todo Mujer. Todos Las Días.” The content on the scheduling block so far represents the “usual suspects” of cable programming for lifestyle channels ranging from fashion “how-to” shows to interior design centric shows to cooking shows. So far, 60% of this content is original and 40% is acquired from other sources.
One of the interesting things about this channel is that it is not alone. MGM’s debut of Canal Ella comes after Disney and Univision revealed they are currently in “talks” attempting to iron out a plan for a new 24-hours news channel specifically aimed at the Latino community. Unlike Canal Ella, Disney and Univision’s project would be in English not Spanish. News Corp. however, unveiled their budding partnership with RCN Television, a Colombian broadcaster, earlier this year, and announced plans to launch their own 24hr Spanish language news channel for Latinos which is set to air in the Fall of 2012.
These developments further indicate a growing trend across the industry: gaining and maintaining the Latino/a viewership. While this trend demonstrates the recognition of the importance of the Latino community, I’m still not entirely sold on these efforts.
I am curious if the actual Latino/a viewership find (or will find) the content on these channels to be truly relatable and representative of them and their experiences. I also wonder if the creation of these culturally specific channels will further encourage the separation of cultures instead of the integration of cultures. Why is it okay for the corporate media giants to create these cable channels that seemingly celebrate and appreciate the Latino cultures while at the same time relying on oversimplified stereotypes in narratives produced for regular Network programming, like on FOX or ABC? ¿Que opinas?