From next Monday, ABC will broadcast a Spanish-language audio track for its World News Tonight. The new service will be transmitted over secondary audio program, a feature of TVs with stereo sound.

The move reflects the rising viewing figures for newscasts on Univision and Telemundo, the two largest Spanish-language networks. Audiences for their 6.30pm bulletins have risen 40% since 1993, in which time the newscasts of the three major networks have lost 30% of their viewers.

Paul Slavin, executive producer of World News Tonight, admitted, “It is a large population, which I don't think is particularly well served by any of the broadcast networks”.

NBC executives said they were considering a similar move during NBC Nightly News.

Univision spoke Stephanie Pollersdorf hit back, claiming, “It's one thing to take a story and put it in a different language, it's another thing to pick topics that are relevant to your audience. Our only target audience is US Hispanics. That's why we're different”.

News source: New York Times