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Cynopsis Media presents: Demographics of U.S. Hispanics a
Good Morning it’s still Thursday, November 15, 2012, and this is a special edition exploring the skyrocketing Hispanic television industry. With the U.S. Latino market’s buying power projected to hit $1.5 trillion in 2015, competitors big and small, entrenched and start-up, are stepping up their game…
If anyone’s still questioning the power of Latino Americans, we direct you to the recent Presidential election-where the demographic helped seal Barack Obama’s victory. Or to the throngs of television and advertising execs clamoring for a piece of this demographic and its buying power-a staggering current $1 trillion, projected to hit $1.5 trillion in 2015.
The roster of cable and broadcast networks angling for Hispanic eyeballs is bulging to almost 100, up from only about 20 a decade ago. While in the past Latino was used more as a regional descriptor, you’ll notice we use the terms Latino and Hispanic interchangeably in this article in keeping with the current industry trend.
From entrenched stalwarts-the mighty Univision and Telemundo-to a new class of start-ups-Liberman Broadcasting bowed Estrella TV in 2009 and Comcast-backed El Rey, for one, debuts next year-to deep-pocketed competitors-including TWC Deportes, Fox Deportes and upcoming MundoFox, and ABC, which is buddying up with Univision-it’s standing room only.
“There is so much opportunity given the buying power and growth of this population,” says Sabrina Crow, managing director/SVP, client services, at Nielsen, which measures 48 million Hispanic viewers.
While Latinos comprise an ever-larger portion of the general U.S. population, the Hispanic and Spanish-language market is rife with unique characteristics. According to recent Nielsen data:
- U.S. Latinos still prefer to consume media in Spanish.
- They watch television as a family much more than other demographics.
- They overindex on multiscreen viewing, actively sharing information about shows with friends and family.
- They watch more live TV, and DVR less, than other audiences.
- U.S. Hispanics are 76% more likely to have smart phones than the general market and more than half of all Hispanics own a smart phone.
- Hispanics spend at least 50% more time watching video on a mobile phone than the rest of the population.
- Hispanics stream more video, watch more videos per person and spend more minutes per person than African Americans or white non-Hispanics.
- Hispanics spend 68% more time watching video on the Internet compared to non-Hispanic whites.
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No matter that ABC’s “Modern Family” is one of the top-rated shows and Sofia Vergara arguably the most familiar Hispanic face on the small screen. Of the show’s audience of nearly 13 million, only about 6% are Hispanic. Other mainstream channels touting Latinos in starring or supporting roles are having a similarly underwhelming connection with the Latino community.
Brand loyalty is a key reason Univision, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is the Goliath all other market comers in seek to topple. The company was the natural choice for ABC when it was looking for an open door for its as-yet-unnamed, co-branded 24-hour English-language news and lifestyle net launching next year.
“We’ve worked hard to make that unique connection,” says Univision Networks president Cesar Conde. “Univision’s brand today is the second most recognized in the Latino community behind the church.” Conde points to the droves of viewers who call their local Univision station for recommendations for schools, doctors, lawyers and the like. “When’s the last time you called your local TV station or cable company for anything?”
But Nielsen’s Crow cautions this demographic is also open-minded when the programming is targeted them. “If the content is relevant and strong quality, then Latinos will be open to it. While their trusted sources are Spanish-language television, such as Univision and Telemundo, the other networks will have a chance to compete.”
That’s why even Univision can’t exhale. “The explosive demographic growth is a double-edged sword for us,” Conde says. ‘There are tremendous benefits but at the same time everyone is rushing into the space.” The company’s been busy launching 24/7 niche channels deducted to sports, telenovelas and digital offerings–the latter just launched in November–and securing cross-platform partnerships including Microsoft Xbox and Hulu.
“It’s a very complex market,” says Diana Mogollon, GM of mun2, the entertainment network for younger Hispanic viewers that spun off from Comcast-owned Telemundo. “You have to understand the country of origin, the household size, the family dynamic, the generational dynamic. You really need to do your homework.”
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Telemundo primarily delivers Spanish-language sports, drama and telenovelas-and the latter genre the network’s prime-time “bread and butter,” says Glenda Pacanins, Telemundo VP programming strategy. As such, Telemundo is doubling down on its telenovela production with new series from noted writers set to debut in the coming months.
“We see novelas as a trend that’s global,” Pacanins says. “It’s not just Latin and Mexican. We’re launching another one in the first quarter that’s an adaptation of a story acquired from Turkey.”
Telemundo is also digging deep into the digital space, including a slate of sponsored digital-only telenovelas. Univision, too, is mining fertile digital ground, as are newer market entrants seeking to build audiences online. It’s a smart move, given the demographic’s avid use of social media. Sixty percent of Hispanics log in to Facebook at least once a day, vs. 55% of non-Hispanics, and 49% use Twitter at least once a week, vs. 24% of non-Hispanics, according to a February 2012 American Pulse Survey.
While Telemundo sticks to Spanish-language, other nets are trying varying levels of English-language programming. Will non-Hispanic viewers tune in? It’s a question that looms large over the ABC-Univision launch.
“It will depend on the quality of content and the way it is targeted,” Crow says of the ability of English-language programming to expand audiences. “Because there is great interest in the Latino population and they are trend-setters in the U.S., it could happen more rapidly than in other segments… And there are Latinos in the U.S. who may have married someone not of Hispanic background, and that’s also shifting the landscape.”
At least one player is bullish about increased competition. “In general the influx of new stations can only help the overall market as Hispanic budgets are still not in proportion with the Hispanic population,” says Winter Horton, COO of Estrella parent LBI Media. “The more stations the better because advertisers will then realize they will need to pay more attention to the Hispanic market.”
Not surprisingly, advertisers are lining up like lemmings. Not only does the Hispanic market possess tremendous buying power, but the median age of 27 places it in the proverbial catbird seat of the ad industry.
This year’s Upfront cycle touted an unprecedented number of presentations aimed squarely at the Hispanic market. “We’re seeing so many entrants because the buying power is there,” says Nielsen’s Crow. “For advertisers it’s so important to reach this market because the numbers are staggering.”
How do advertisers navigate the ever-burgeoning field of networks playing in this space? Although it’s important to remain open to startups, “The ability to be rated and measured is going to have an impact on whether we want to support a given network,” says Marcy Greenberger, SVP/Director at ad agency Tapestry, which includes powerhouse P&G among its clients.
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While programming targeting Latinos is becoming more prevalent online and via mobile platforms, broadcast remains where the ad staple in this market. “Digital and emerging media are becoming more relevant, but the television and broadcast media can be very impactful for this viewer. It’s still appointment viewing for them, so that’s an extra piece of rationale we use to help explain the impact of advertising in prime time.”
Greenberger says her clients ask daily for advice on the best way to connect with Hispanic consumers. “They want to know whether it’s best to have dedicated activity, or think of them as part of the total market. And there are instances where both are right,” she says. “There are going to be times when you have specific products or services that are exceptionally relevant to the Hispanic audience, and other times when that’s not the case.”
“You can’t talk about reaching young people in this country without talking about young Latinos,” mun2’s Mogollon says. “In L.A. one out of two teenagers is Hispanic.” It’s the reason top advertiser Mars Wrigley pours big bucks into the network, she says. “Sometimes people get shocked with these statistics but these are the facts.”
Family viewing is another coveted differentiator for advertisers. One show usually means many pairs of eyeballs. “U.S. Hispanics can make or break opening weekends for movies because they tend to go in larger groups,” says Crow. “That is important from an advertising perspective.”
Ad categories with particular reach in Hispanic programming include CPG, beauty and health aids–which play big alongside telenovelas-automotive and “anything that plays well with the family viewing structure,” Crow says. Insurance and financial are starting to take off, she says.
Telecom companies have also been active against these consumers, Greenberger says, “because they so overindex in mobile phone and Internet usage.” Telemundo counts T Mobile, Verizon, Toyota and Chevrolet as strong advertisers. Univision has seen an recent uptick in interest from pharmaceutical companies, says Conde, including a recent partnership with Novartis Pharmeceuticals Corp. to provide educational programming about Alzheimer’s.
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And the tables are beginning to shift, with entrenched networks extending their own brands with new audiences. Univision, for one, in October licensed its television programs to Scientific Games Corp. subsidiary for use in lottery games across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Stay tuned… in this hotly contested market, things are changing daily.
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