Mobile Video Booms Among Latinos

Good Call: Telemundo, Others Cater to Demo's Penchant for Cellphones

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Text messaging is so passe. Starting this month, subscribers to AT&T Wireless' Media Net Latino package can watch the best kisses, love scenes and action chases from "El Zorro," the telenovela based on the Zorro legend that is co-produced by NBC Universal's Telemundo and Sony Pictures.
Tuned Up: Mun2 pushes music.
Tuned Up: Mun2 pushes music.

The clips aren't pulled from "El Zorro's" TV content. They're all original, produced specifically for the third screen.

Small but growing market
The market for Latino mobile video is small but growing dramatically. The reason is simple: U.S. Hispanics overindex in their use and adoption of mobile technologies and spend more money than general-market consumers on wireless services. A 2007 Forrester Research report shows Hispanic mobile-data users are three times more likely to download videos than non-Hispanics, and according to ITFacts, they spend an average of $67 per month on wireless services vs. $60 by the general market.

Latinos' penchant for using mobile phones hasn't escaped marketers, agencies and broadcasters. They're finding ways to reach Latinos on the move via text messaging or image and video downloading.

"Our clients are increasingly asking [us] about mobile," says Marla Skiko, director-digital innovations at SMG Multicultural, Chicago. Earlier this year, the Publicis Groupe multicultural media agency helped put together a multichannel marketing effort for Hennessy, driving bilingual urban users to a dedicated site where they could download ringtones, wallpaper, music and cocktail recipes directly onto their cellphones.

Flooding cellphones with content
About 15.7 million Hispanics own a mobile phone, and though not all carry devices with video capabilities, carriers and content providers are rushing in. MobiTV, the mobile-video subscription service reaching 2 million subscribers, now offers MobiTV en Espanol, a combination of Spanish and English channels including Telemundo, Mun2, Azteca America, Sorpresa, ESPN Deportes and History Channel en Espanol. The service is available to Sprint, AT&T Wireless and Alltel subscribers.

In addition, Telemundo in March added an innovative feature to its youth-oriented cable channel Mun2. Viewers of "18 & Over" and "One Nation" can log on to and post video comments, which are video versions of regular text messages posted on blogs. "We want to go beyond what everyone else is doing," says Peter Blacker, senior VP-digital media at Telemundo.

Similar efforts are under way at Azteca America, which in March launched "Suegras," ("Mothers-in-Law"), a 10-week reality show in which brides-to-be have to deal with their potential mothers-in-law before they can pick the perfect groom. Viewers of the show can connect to a dedicated "Suegras" page hosted on to watch episodes and vote candidates in and out.

"The mobile component is an extension that will help us fulfill our advertisers' need to reach consumers," says Adrian Steckel, president-CEO of Azteca America.
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