By Krystin Anderson
In a busy Colombian trade show packed full of TV stations vying for a spot on broadcast networks, it wouldn”t seem likely that a station from Provo, Utah, entirely devoid of sex- and drug-related content, would stand a chance. And yet, by the end of the trade show, more than 80 networks had agreed to sign KBYU-TV”s new station, BYU-TV International.
This success came from its uniquely uplifting programming, a characteristic that the signing networks knew their viewers needed and wanted.
BYU-TV International was launched at the beginning of March this year in countries throughout South and Central America, as well as in the Caribbean and Spain and Portugal, broadcasting both old and new programming translated into English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Saul Leal, BYU Broadcasting”s Latin Coordinator, said the station is a wonderful way to positively influence people in their own language.
“The beautiful thing about BYU Television International is that we base our content on what really translates well, and that”s principles and values,” Leal said. “And this is what BYU Broadcasting knows how to do the best.”
After talking to those who attended the trade show and reading response e-mails from people who watched the station, Leal said it appeared as if people wanted these principles and values.
“There”s hunger for this type of uplifting content,” Leal said. “The impact and the difference this is making on the world is hard to envision yet.”
Jim Bell, BYU Broadcasting”s manager for marketing and communications, said the success is based on extensive research, including focus groups, on what content is effective and useful for a Latin audience. “We wanted the station to be the outgrowth of careful, thoughtful analysis rather than a group of people in Provo, Utah saying, ”Oh, this is what we”ll do in Latin America,”” Bell said.
It was a clear choice, he said, to expand to Latin regions of the world.
“Central and South America was a very logical place for us to expand because of the size of the church, the growth of the church, the number of Spanish-speaking members of the church,” Bell said. “It”s a huge market that we”re able to provide a service for.”
Paula Titel, the main Spanish translator, is excited about the expansion to South America because of the unity it will bring to church members who don”t often get to see and hear the prophets and apostles speak.
“I think the impact will be that there will be more unity in the church worldwide,” Titel said. “All members will feel strengthened.”
She is impressed that such a small group of people can have such a large impact on the world, and loves her involvement in it.
“It means a lot to me because I have family in Guatemala, and it”s something that they”re going to be watching,” Titel said. “There are only a handful of us, but we”re sending it to so many places.”