Azteca America confirms commitment to programming, LA during upfront


Azteca America presented its West Coast Upfront last week to more than 400 in Los Angeles. During the event, Chairman Luis Echarte reiterated the network's commitment to Los Angeles. "Somos Angelinos. We are here to stay. We have moved our network headquarters here and we will continue to broadcast here as Azteca 54 until 2009. And we will transmit from our current home or a new one from 2009 onwards."

During the event, executives emphasized national coverage gains in the past year, increasing the network's station base by 27% to 57 affiliated stations. Also touted was a strengthened local Los Angeles sales operation, new programming produced in Mexico and the United States, as well as a multimedia platform and new media options that set the stage for increased growth for the 2007-2008 season.

In addition, the network presented new music platforms, sports programming, new reality show formats, novelas and returning hits. Azteca also reiterated its commitment to offer network news coverage, as well as plans for local news programming in 10 news markets.

"Soccer is no doubt our crown jewel, as witnessed by the 1.9 million viewers that saw the America-Pachuca championship final. But we are starting to move audiences to the weekday as well, with novelas and entertainment shows," said Adrian Steckel, CEO of Azteca America.

Steckel presented upcoming programming options that further boost the network's programming grid, such as the music competition format Disco de Oro, Azteca's mega-production novelas Mientras Haya Vida and Se Busca un Hombre.

Other musical programming debuts include Premio de la Gente, Billboard Regional Latino Especial, and Premio a la Musica Regional, as well as Fiebra a la Danza. Sports options include top-quality boxing from Boxeo Latino, a new series of the Ultimate Fighting Championships, the boxing reality show Retador Azteca, and the sports commentary programs DeporTV America and Tiempo Extra. Talk, variety and comedy shows include Bienvenido a Casa with Omar Fierro, Sexto Sentido and Peor Es Nada.

Reality shows for the upcoming season include Suegras II, La Academia, La Academia USA and Cambio Extremo. Additionally, a programming agreement with Discovery Networks will bring shows for both adults and children. Returning hits like Ventaneando America and Historias Engarzadas will complement newscasts and entertainment shows produced in Azteca's digital studio in LA, and more.

The programming will also have new media outlets via, as well as mobile telephony options through MobiTV, and interactive SMS voting in reality shows, among other new media options. Also presented during the event was a local Terra-powered website for Los Angeles that will go live in coming months.