Expect More Growth in '07

Spanish-Language Media Are Predicted to Outpace the General Market as Digital Takes Off

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Spanish-language media are forecast to grow twice as fast in 2007 as the rest of the market, about 5.4% compared with 2.6% for the general market, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Dressed up: 'Nuestra Belleza Latina' is scoring points for Univision.
Dressed up: 'Nuestra Belleza Latina' is scoring points for Univision.

But that's a lot slower than last year, when Hispanic media were propelled upward 13% to about $3.9 billion by political ads and huge advertising packages around endless coverage of World Cup soccer on Univision Communications' Univision and TeleFutura networks and Galavision cable network.

"Three words: politics, World Cup," says Jon Swallen, TNS's senior VP-director of research. "Politics in 2006 was a rising tide that lifted all boats. And on the TV-network side, the World Cup benefited Univision."

For this year, TNS predicts 10.7% growth for Hispanic print and 4.6% for TV, though Spanish-language TV executives say they expect bigger increases.

Online opening up
The huge change in the Hispanic media world is the digital explosion. Hispanic print media, long digital laggards, finally have online strategies. Social networking is taking off. Online media and the Hispanic TV networks' websites are growing exponentially; Univision.com expects 5 billion page views this year. And mobile marketing is the latest catchphrase.

"Hispanic consumers are late but fast adopters of technology," says Steve Mandala, senior VP-sales and marketing at Telemundo and NBC Universal Networks.

According to a study presented last month by Yahoo Telemundo, online Hispanics 18 to 55 are more likely than their general-market counterparts to have cellphones (90% vs. 79%), take pictures on their phones (61% vs. 28%) and use text messaging (66% vs. 38%).

Arrival of Uva
Although everyone is delving deeper into digital, the hottest Hispanic media topic these days is the arrival this month of Joe Uva as CEO of Univision Communications. Mr. Uva's challenges under Univision's new private-equity ownership range from persuading more national advertisers to discover Spanish-language TV to repairing relations with his biggest program supplier, Mexico's Grupo Televisa. His first big public appearance, at Univision's presentation at the Hispanic TV upfront in mid-May, is eagerly awaited.

Comparing English- and Spanish-language networks, Univision claims victory in engagement metrics. Dennis McCauley, co-president of Univision Networks sales and marketing, says a recent Simmons study found that 63% of Univision viewers watch all or most commercials, compared with 39% for viewers of English-language TV. In addition, 43% of Univision viewers talk about the ads they see, compared with just 10% of English-TV viewers.

Marketers' appetite keeps growing for branded content and reality shows such as Univision's "Nuestra Belleza Latina," in which beauty contestants face "Apprentice"-like challenges backed by marketers such as Ford Motor Co. and JC Penney Corp.; Telemundo's Clorox Co.-supported telenovela, "Dame Chocolate"; and Azteca America's "Suegras," backed by Kia Motor America and State Farm Insurance. The twist in the girls-seeking-husbands reality show "Suegras" ("Mothers-in-Law") is that it's the prospective mothers-in-law who cast the final vote.
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