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AOL woos surfers en Español

America Online expands its deal with Spanish-language media giant Univision in an effort to reach more Hispanic surfers, the fastest-growing online community in the United States.

America Online is expanding its advertising agreement with Univision in an effort to target more Spanish speakers, who it said make up the fastest-growing online community in the United States.

AOL said on Thursday the expanded alliance with the Spanish-language media company would allow it to better reach a Hispanic audience through increased advertising and broadband services. Univision reaches about 97 percent of Hispanic households in the United States.

The Hispanic community is a highly desirable market for many advertisers. Arbitron, which tracks radio and Webcast audiences, released a report last week called the "Power of Hispanic Consumers," which found that Hispanic Americans are more likely to employed than the average American. It also found that one-third of the Hispanic community, which recently surpassed African-Americans as the largest minority group in the United States, has bought something online.

Under the new agreement, the online unit of AOL Time Warner will pay Univision more than it did under their previous arrangement. AOL would not disclose dollar amounts. As part of the deal, it plans to run banner ads on Univision.com, which will create a customized cobranded version of its site. AOL also will expand its Spanish-language radio and television advertising through commercials on Univision's Galavision and TeleFutura networks.

On the content side, AOL will feature more broadband clips from Univision on its main Web site, including features with Hispanic celebrities.

Mary Ann Donaghy, executive director of marketing development at AOL, said the company is targeting the Hispanic market because of its size and potential for growth. "We're the No. 1 ISP (Internet service provider), and we want to remain the No. 1 ISP," she said.