After a year in a beta testing phase, MySpace Latino will get its official launch this Friday (April 11) with several new communities directed at U.S. Latinos.See Also:
The bilingual site, accessible via latino.myspace.com, has spent the last year getting user feedback and setting up content collaborations and media partnerships to fuel the Latin-focused communities on its front page.
Those include Billboard En Español, which will provide music news, charts, features, reviews and other content in Spanish. "Acústico," backed by Gibson Guitar, will feature intimate shows with Latin artists in Gibson showrooms nationwide.
In "Backstage", bands reveal how they got their start in behind-the-scenes interviews. "Shows Secretos" is an extension of MySpace's "Secret Shows" event franchise; "En Tu Ciudad," powered by Remezcla.com, recommends nightlife and events in various cities; and "Get Your Band Sponsored by MySpace Latino" is a nationwide talent search for bands to get special MySpace Latino promotion.
In addition to music-focused communities, there is "Entérate," powered by Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), offering celebrity news and fashion; "Todo Fútbol," a soccer site by ImpreMedia; and "La Oficina," a site with news about and giveaways from MySpace Latino itself.
SBS' involvement also extends to two channels on MySpace TV-lamusica.com and Mega TV-which can cross-promote content. MySpace VP of Hispanic sales and strategy Manny Miravete says launching the Latino site meant preserving MySpace's key drivers: the social network, friendship communities and music.
But the new site contains "not just a duplication of what's going on on the MySpace side, but unique programs that we're building specifically for this audience focused on Hispanic artists, breaking new Hispanic bands, [and] showcasing exclusive intimate events that people can experience by being friends with a MySpace Latino community."
MySpace Latino was originally called MySpace Español and was all in Spanish, but later evolved to a bilingual presentation.
"We realized that we had to do a bilingual site, especially since young people who went to school here feel more comfortable reading and writing in English," says Victor A. Kong, VP and managing director, MySpace Latin America. "The strategy was to focus on the passion points of the U.S. Latino, regardless of language."
Even so, the company says demand was high for setting up profiles in Spanish. Since September, the number of profiles created through MySpace Latino in Spanish grew from 450,000 to 1.3 million, says Miravete.
That's a powerful online audience to present to brands. In the case of the McDonalds'-sponsored "Backstage," footage of bands describing how they got started loosely correlates with the restaurant chain's imaging program about its employees going on to successful careers, says Miravete. The page has a Spanish-language McDonald's ad banner at the top.
MySpace's Kong will discuss MySpace's strategy on a panel at the Billboard Latin Music Conference today (April 8) during "The Digital Arena" panel at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. MySpace Latino will celebrate its launch Friday with a "Show Secreto" at Miami's Studio A with Tego Calderon, Circo, and Locos Por Juana.
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