The programming block is set to launch first in Los Angeles in late January 2013. It will carry a locally-produced debate show, talk shows and documentaries that CNN hopes will capture the attention of U.S. Latinos.
The Pew Hispanic Center predicts Latinos will make up nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2050. Three-fourths of U.S. Hispanics are Spanish-dominant or speak both English and Spanish, according to a recent Pew survey.
But there are still relatively few Spanish channels, according to Sharon Cooper, Associate Media Director for Grupo Gallegos, a Huntington Beach-based marketing firm.
"While the amount of Spanish language content is growing, there are still far fewer options in this space, providing CNN the opportunity to attract new viewers by creating something new," Cooper wrote in an email.
The collective buying power of the U.S. Latino market is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, according to a recent report from Nielsen. If the U.S. Hispanic market were a country, it would be among the world’s biggest 20 economies, the market research firm calculated.
A report last year from IBISWorld identified media and entertainment as among the top seven economic sectors expected to benefit from the growth of the Latino population.
Advertisers are seeing the potential: advertising on Spanish language Cable TV grew 21 percent between 2010 and 2011, according to the Neilsen report.
Just in the Los Angeles media market, advertisers spent $346.8 million in Spanish language media over the past 12 months, according to Grupo Gallegos.
Following its launch in Los Angeles, CNN Latino expects to expand to other major Hispanic markets across the U.S.