The Walt Disney Co. and Univision Communications Inc. are in talks to partner on a 24-hour news channel, the Wall Street Journal reports. The channel would broadcast in English in a bid to align with changing demographics among U.S. Hispanics who speak English. The new channel would mark a huge departure for both ABC and Univision. ABC has stayed out of the cable news wars, and Univision has always been defined by its Spanish-language broadcasts. If the talks are successful, the joint venture’s goal would be to get the network up and running before the November elections. It would be based in Miami where Univision already has studios, the Journal said. Discussions have been taking place for more than a year and could still unravel. It would be led on the Disney side by ABC News President Ben Sherwood and on the Univision side by Univision Networks President Cesar Conde. The proposed partnership would be a bet by both companies that consumer spending by Latinos will continue to grow faster than the rest of the population. The number of English-speaking U.S.-born Latinos is also growing at a faster rate than those who speak Spanish.
Long the No. 1 Spanish-language network in the U.S. and the fifth most-watched channel of any language in primetime, Univision is facing increased competition from Telemundo, which is controlled by Comcast. Fox network parent News Corp recently announced it was creating a new broadcast network MundoFox in partnership with a Colombian company.