Spanish-language television network Azteca America is now producing its U.S. national and local Los Angeles newscasts from Mexico City, the Los Angeles Times reports.


The company, a subsidiary of Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, until this week had originated its news programs for the U.S. from its facilities in Glendale. The network and its flagship station, KAZA-TV Channel 54 in Los Angeles, made the switch to save money amid a weak advertising market.


Azteca America has laid off about 30 people in the last week, including 19 in its news division, the company confirmed Wednesday.


The network has long struggled to make inroads in Los Angeles, the nation's largest Latino market, where entrenched rivals Univision Communications Inc.'s KMEX-TV Channel 34 and NBC Universal's KVEA-TV Telemundo Channel 52 dominate.


"It was too expensive for them to produce the local news here," said Roxane Garzon, broadcast media director for Casanova Pendrill, a Costa Mesa-based agency that specializes in Latin media. "They just can't compete with Univision or Telemundo. This is a revision of their business model."


News anchors will be based in Azteca's Mexico City studios, and Los Angeles anchor Nancy Agosto has become a reporter. News Director Maria Elena J & #225;uregui resigned but is serving as a consultant, the company confirmed. Prominent reporter Alicia Unger was let go.


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