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"If we were only to consider the Hispanic market, we should be playing 70 percent of Mexican music, but we're not exclusively oriented to Mexicans," he says. "We want to reach the Chinese population, the Afro-American community, the white people, the Italians, the Greeks. That's the beauty of this. It's like a platform to showcase snippets of each of our [Latin] musical genres."
"Ratings are always a concern, but we have a long-standing relationship with the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and we're hoping that this show grows to become its own independent and successful annual television event," said Jack Sussman, CBS's senior vice president of specials. He admitted that the Latin Grammys have grown in some ways, "but not necessarily ratings-wise." That lack of growth, he explained, can be attributed to the way Latino viewers are measured by Nielsen Media Research, which compiles national data on the number of people who watch television. Sussman cited a February 2004 study by the National Latino Media Council that concluded Latino viewers are often undercounted by Nielsen when it comes to prime-time television.
"That is why the numbers aren't as high as we believe they really are, because we believe the audience is really watching this show," said Sussman. He is confident, however, that the Latin Grammy telecast is a long-term bet for CBS that will pay off. "If we score with it we'll be in business for a great many years," he said.
Even if the television broadcast never attracts a mass audience, Abaroa said that the Latin Grammys will not disappear from the face of the earth. He admits, however, that if ratings don't improve, the event's annual broadcast might be canceled. "The TV gives us the opportunity of showing off what we do in front of a worldwide audience," he said. "[But] these awards are given by the members of the academy to reflect the music quality of their peers. That's it. The award will exist with or without the TV show."