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Spanish-language TV: $$$ in any language

Their advertising sales may be down nearly $100 million, but Spanish-language broadcasters say that Sabado2 ringing sound you hear from their industry isn't an alarm bell. It's a wake-up call -- and a lot of companies have already answered.

``This time next year, if you're not in Hispanic media, you're going to want badly to get in,'' says Don Browne, president of Telemundo. ``And those who are already in it are going to feel pretty damn good about it.''

Once a cozy little Monopoly board with all the hotels stacked on two properties, Univisión and Telemundo, Spanish-language television has turned into a rambunctious free-for-all with new competitors getting into the game all the time.

The siren song that beckons them: explosive population growth among U.S. Hispanics that has already outstripped every demographic projection of the past decade and is expected to show an even more breathless pace when results of the 2010 census are in.

Some industry figures think tangible proof could come as soon as June, when the World Cup soccer tournament begins in South Africa. ``All the matches are going to be televised in the United States in the afternoon and early evening,'' says Jose Cancela, owner of the Hispanic USA marketing firm. ``I think the ratings are going to be through the roof.'' Read the rest of my story on Spanish-language TV in Monday's Miami Herald.

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