MTV (Latin America)

MTV Latin America
Launched October 1, 1993
Owned by Viacom International Media Networks The Americas/Viacom
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Broadcast area Latin America
Headquarters Miami Beach, Florida
Formerly called MTV en Español
Sister channel(s) VH1 Latin America
Nickelodeon Latin America
Comedy Central Latin America
Paramount Channel
Dish Network Mexico channel 250
Directv Latin America channel 264
Claro TV Paraguay channel 50
Personal TV Paraguay channel 350
Inter Venezuela channel 24
Telecable Tricom(DR) channel 230
Tigo Star Paraguay channel 501

MTV Latin America (also known as MTV Latinoamérica, MTV Latino or MTV Latin) is a cable television specialty service aimed at residents in Hispanic American countries. It was launched on October 1, 1993 as MTV en Español. The channel is a Hispanic American version from MTV. The channel is property of MTV Networks Latin America, a subsidiary of Viacom.

MTV Latin America's principal objective is to broadcast music videos as well as reality shows, series, and films, which may be directly or indirectly related to music. All programming is related in some way to youth culture. MTV Latin America's programming focuses on certain musical genres, mainly pop, soft rock, Latin pop, and hip hop. Each of these categories includes music in English and Spanish.

The service is headquartered in Miami Beach. MTV Latin America is distributed via satellite, cable, and other terrestrial distribution through of three different feeds in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.

The channel has also their own versions of MTV reality shows like Room Raiders or Dismissed, but most of the time curse words are not censored in Latin América Regions (specially during the watershed time). The first video shown was We are sudamerican rockers by the Chilean band Los Prisioneros.[1]


A few important events in the late 1980s led to the creation of MTV Latin America. Firstly, the program "MTV International" was created in 1988 and led by Daisy Fuentes. This weekly program was broadcast through Latin American and American channels and presented music videos from both regions. A second catalyst was the rise of the "Spanish Rock fever", which included artists such as Argentinean rockers Miguel Mateos and Soda Stereo. Lastly, during these years the first-ever Spanish rock concert in the US. was put on by Miguel Mateos, which created excitement amongst Latino communities in the United States.

MTV (Latin America) logo used from 1993 to 2009.
MTV (Latin America) logo used from 2009 to 2011.

With the growing popularity of Latino artists, channel executives began to take notice and realized the increasing quality and popularity of music sung in Spanish. After considering the success of other international MTV channels, such as MTV Europe and MTV Brasil, MTV Networks launched "MTV in Spanish" in October 1993. The channel had one signal to broadcast to all of Latin America. All programs were recorded and produced in Miami, FL where the studios were located. Daisy Fuentes became one of the first VJs for the channel.

As the channel began to experience growing popularity in the early part of 1995,[2] new shows were added to the program. For the first time, shows unrelated to music were broadcast, such as Beavis and Butthead. MTV News was added, a segment dedicated to news on celebrities, film, politics and social issues, usually combining subjective and objective commentary. Lastly, in this same year the show Connection was launched, the most popular show in the channel's history, which has remained on air for a record length of time and boasts the largest audience of any program in the history of the channel.

Given the channel's social and economic growth, in April 1996 "MTV in Spanish" was divided into two regional signals, "North", covering Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela, and "South", covering the rest of the region. This division was created in order to cater programming more closely to distinct audiences. As a result, in 1996 MTV became the number one music channel in Latin America.[2] The channel also became one of the first US television brands to develop a website for Latin America audiences with the launch in partnership with the Miami-based company Internet Marketing Consultants.

However, during the 1990s the channel began experiencing problems. The musical aspect of "MTV in Spanish" was disorganized and the channel was having trouble catering to distinct regional tastes. Executives decided to segment audiences by dividing the channel into three signals: "MTV Mexico", "MTV Central" (Colombia) and "MTV Argentina", with studios and regional offices located in capital cities of each country.

During this time, the channel began to show American MTV programs subtitled in Spanish. As well, in the year 2000, MTV created a new signal directed towards Chile, known as "MTV Southwest", which repeated programming from MTV Mexico but adjusted to Chilean time. While at first MTV thought about repeating MTV Argentina’s programming for the Chilean signal because of the proximity of the countries, it was decided that considering cultural traits and the difference in accents between Chilean and Argentine Spanish, it would be more suitable to adapt Mexican programming for the Chilean signal. However, in 2004, MTV Southwest was cancelled due to the low number of viewers. Currently, three signals operate in Latin America: "MTV North", covering Mexico, "MTV Central", covering Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and Central American countries and "MTV South", covering Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.


Although MTV's objective is to broadcast music videos of popular artists, the channel also broadcasts reality shows and other series aimed at youth. While many shows produced and broadcast by the channel have generated controversy for their irreverence, they continue to be popular among their viewers. Such controversy surrounds shows such as “South Park”, for its liberal themes, vulgar language and obscenities. Although these controversial shows are broadcast at night, they are often repeated during daytime scheduling.

In the later part of 2009, MTV began to change. With the incorporation of new reality shows, music videos could now only be seen in the very early morning. The rest of programming was dedicated to American reality shows.

Audience demographics

The majority of viewers are between the ages of 14 and 34. The average age of viewers is 18 years, with the majority of the audience being older.[3] About 76% of viewers belong to the middle to upper class.[4] As well, the channel notes a large number of viewers are university students.[5] Moreover, according to a study conducted by TGI Latina in 2004, MTV Latin America’s audience is 57% male and 43% female.[6]

Social issues and MTV

In addition to broadcasting core MTV programs, MTV Latin America has also produced other non-music-related programs that address social and cultural issues that impact Latin American youth. These programs address issues such as politics, sexually transmitted infections, the environment and sexuality. Some of these shows include:

Other projects

In 2002, MTV Networks announced the first Latin American MTV Video Music Awards. For the first three years, the awards were held in Miami. In 2006 and 2007 they were held in Mexico City. In 2008, the Awards were moved to Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2009, the show took place in various cities, including Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Los Angeles.[9]

Public reception

MTV Latin America, like other MTV channels around the world, has been one of the first television channels to receive criticisms, largely from their own viewers. While many criticisms apply to MTV as a whole, some criticisms apply specifically to MTV Latin America. One reason for these criticisms is that certain videos and reality shows on MTV Latin America are not censored.

One of the main criticisms against MTV Latin America is that it is merely a commercial channel, whose broadcasting of videos is based on only economic interests and not on audience requests. MTV has been accused of being excessively commercial and an advertising tool for major music corporations. MTV has undermined the importance of the music itself, replacing it with merely a visual esthetic. This creates a negative public image for MTV.[10]

As well, MTV has recently been criticized for broadcasting too many reality shows, distancing itself from its original purpose, which was to broadcast musical programming.[11] MTV has argued that these shows include music from current artists in their soundtrack, such as Laguna Beach. This show in particular has caused great controversy among viewers as it offers content completely unrelated to music.

Another criticism against MTV is that the channel spreads and promotes inappropriate behaviour among youth, in both music videos and shows.[12] Some controversial content include sex, early pregnancy, general violence, use of drugs, daily drinking and smoking habits of celebrities and domestic violence.

A final criticism, exclusive to MTV Latin America, relates to the form in which titles are presented on the screen, which usually includes a variety of orthographical errors such as missing accents and use of exclamation and question marks. Critics argue that these errors do not aid in didactic learning for viewers, the majority of which are youth.[13]

However, MTV Latin America has also made many positive achievements. Between 2005 and 2006, MTV broadcast a campaign entitled “Don’t Kill the Music”, which aimed to broadcast a message of awareness to youth about music in general.[14] As well the channel has created various projects to help independent Hispanic bands and musical artists.


MTV Latin America is divided in the following feeds depending on population and accent.


Colombia (Central & Caribbean)


Shows currently airing in MTV Latin America include. Some shows are airing only in selected feeds:

Reality and animated shows


No longer airing

Original shows

This shows although they're locally produced in Latin America they only last between 1 or 2 seasons. The only exception is Joystickeros which has lasted 6 seasons.

Music shows

Award shows

See also


  1. Los Prisioneros, Allmusic
  2. 1 2 Medios y mercados de Latinoamérica, Latinoamérica y negocios, Estados unidos, 1996
  3. LAMAC, The Best Global Brands Study, Business Week , Financial Times & Interbrand, Estados Unidos, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004
  4. TG1 Latina, MTV viewed last 7 days, Estados Unidos, 2004
  5. LAMAC, TGI Latinoamérica, Estados Unidos, 2004
  6. TG1 Latina, TGI Latina 2004 Wave I+II, Estados Unidos, 2004
  7. Johnson, R. (2006). MTV's note to Mexico: Go vote. Los Angeles Times. [2006]
  8. Documental de UNICEF y MTV gana premio en Festival Mundial de Medios (Abril 14, 2008). Centro de Noticias ONU [2008]
  9. EHUI!, Premios MTV se transmitirán desde varias ciudades de AL, México, 2009.
  10. Emol: El mercurio online, Hace 25 años nació MTV, la revolución musical de la pantalla chica , Chile, 28 de julio de 2006
  11. Fórmula tv, La cadena MTV cumplió 25 años de historia musical el 1 de agosto, España, 2006
  12. Calabozo No mires MTV!?!?, España, 2006
  13. De todo hay en la vida del ´señor... MTV Y EL REGAETON (O como se escriba…), Valencia, Venezuela 29 de junio de 2006
  14. Inconciente Colectivo, MTV: Don´t Kill the Music, Chile, 12 de enero de 2006,
  15. "MTV presentó novedades de programación para 2011".
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