Business
7:00 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Why Miami Is Now A Hub For Latino TV

Hosts Jorge Ramos (left) and Maria Elena Salinas (center) sit with President Obama at the University of Miami September 20, 2012 in Coral Gables.
Hosts Jorge Ramos (left) and Maria Elena Salinas (center) sit with President Obama at the University of Miami September 20, 2012 in Coral Gables.
Credit Carolyn Kaster

If you had to guess where most of the TV programming for Latinos is being produced these days, where would you guess? L.A., New York, Texas? How about Miami? A recent deal has solidified Miami as a major television hub.

Ana Sagastegui was born in Peru. She has worked in the Miami TV industry for 20 years. Sagastegui remembers how different Miami was then. Just a few broadcast studios but plenty of open space.

"The first office that we had, right behind the office was greenery, big field and when we used to leave the office at the end of the day, we would start hearing cows. Cows! Mooing."

Today, those cows have been replaced by commercial centers and suburban homes and Sagastegui still runs her company, Big Miami. She relocated here to start the business.

Clients from Mexico to Argentina kept telling her they preferred to do deals in Miami. Sagastegui felt the city had the potential to become a major production center for Spanish language shows.

"There were already Hispanic businesses here, the weather provided a great incentive -- there's sun all the time, beautiful homes, so there are many factors. Financially, weatherwise and the language."

For decades, Univision's enormously popular Cristina Show was shot here. Today, the competition for the Hispanic viewers is fierce. HBO Latin America, Telemundo, and America Teve all run local operations.

Late last year, when Univision and ABC announced they'd build a new headquarters just west of the airport, they promised 350 high paying jobs.

Univision's Jose Zamora says the network was offered attractive incentives.

"We are investing in the community and we are creating jobs. And we won't receive any of the incentives until we fulfill our part of the commitment which is job creation."

A commitment that makes sense because of all the programming that's already being produced. Frank Nero, former head of the Beacon Council, played a critical role in wooing Univision/ABC.

"I mean I think that the demographic of Miami is very interesting. We like to say wherever the demographic of the United States is going, Miami is either going to get there first or it's already there," says Nero.

Latinos are now the fastest growing demographic in the country, and Miami is using location and language to its competitive advantage.