Sponsors like Ford, which is promoting its 2006 Fusion mid-size sedan, and Warner Brothers, touting the new cop thriller, "16 Blocks," have already signed on to target an increasingly affluent Spanish-speaking U.S. market.
"This represents the beginning of our efforts to reach the growing Latin-American community," said Scott McKenzie, group editorial director, Billboard Information Group. McKenzie hinted at a Spanish-language print publication in Billboard's future, but would not provide specifics.
McKenzie hopes to establish the site's presence among target viewers with coverage in April of this year's annual Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards--sponsored by Heineken and Burger King. The event is being produced and broadcast live on Telemundo, while the new Web site will feature related articles, information about the history of the awards show, Billboard reviews of archived albums for this year's nominees, and photos from the event. The site will also feature live performances, red carpet footage, and artists' interviews.
According to the latest available Census Bureau data, there are 41.3 million Latinos in the United States. Hispanics comprise around 14 percent of the U.S. population. The Census Bureau projects that between 2005 and 2010 the U.S. Hispanic population will grow by 14.2 percent, compared to overall growth of 4.5 percent. Latinos will be responsible for a formidable 44 percent of all U.S. population growth.
The new site will also feature "Billboard Latino," the Spanish-language television show produced by 13th Floor Television and aired on Azteca America. This television show will offer artist biographies, interviews, and transcripts from past shows. The material will also include exclusive live performances from the show, audience polls, Q&A sessions with Latin musicians, behind-the-scenes footage and bloopers, Latin music news clips, and previews for upcoming shows.