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Panregional print media and TV networks in Latin America have ambitious expansion plans for 1997. Media owners who responded to Ad Age International's regional media questionnaire cited new products, plans to enter new markets and strategies for expanding regional advertising as their top priorities this year. Some media owners are finally discovering Brazil, underrepresented in a regional media mix that still focuses more on Spanish-speaking countries.

Launches are already heating up competition. The entry of Nickelodeon Latin America late last month adds a fourth channel aimed at the region's young viewers. Nickelodeon starts with 2 million multichannel homes in 16 countries. The Discovery Channel, whose Discovery Kids channel reaches 1.2 million homes, said its biggest project for 1997 is "development of a subscriber base and creative edutainment programming for Discovery Kids." Fox Kids and Cartoon Network Latin America also are chasing the children's market and advertisers like Mattel, Nestle and Kellogg.

Although Brazil is the biggest country in Latin America and accounts for about one-third of the region's $18 billion ad dollars, the country is set apart because it's a Portuguese-speaking market-and therefore rarely one of the first countries a media owner eyeing Latin America enters.

This year media as diverse as The Wall Street Journal Americas, circulated as a weekly supplement in national newspapers, and GEMS Television plan to enter Brazil.

Freedom Communications, Inc. is taking advantage of Latin America's technology boom in home PCs, cellular phones and home entertainment equipment with the November 1996 launch of e3 (electr¢nica, entretenimiento, estilo) aimed at "the techno-savvy, gadget-buff Latin American aged 25-55." A Brazilian edition of e3 is scheduled for this July with a planned circulation of 60,000.

Another Freedom title, Latin Trade, adds a Spanish-language version called Revista Latin Trade this month. This strategy has worked well for Newsweek, which has 54,100 subscribers to the Newsweek en espa¤ol edition the magazine created for Latin America, in addition to 77,000 subscribers for its regional, English-language version.

U.S. TV networks and publishers dominate the Latin American regional media market with the exception of Mexico City-based giant Editorial Televisa. Besides its own print titles, Televisa licenses women's magazines from Hearst Magazines and Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, PC Magazine from Ziff-Davis Publishing and Men's Health from Rodale Press.

Media owners are continuing in their efforts to promote the panregional media concept. Turner/Time-Warner cited "establish panregional budgets" as its biggest project for 1997 and the Travel Channel responded "expand and grow strategic alliances with the travel and tourism industry." TeleUNO is planning four in-market promotions for the region this year.

Panregional ads are booked mainly from Miami, New York and, to a lesser extent except for Time magazine and MTV Networks Latin America, Mexico City, media owners said. Although one frustrated publisher complains of unsophisticated Miami media buyers who can't interpret Audit Bureau of Circulation statements properly, media owners are targeting these cities as regional buying centers.

The world's biggest spenders like Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Coca-Cola may still prefer to spend their money on national media, but a growing number of advertisers are using regional media for credit cards, high-tech products, telecommunications, travel and luxury goods, among other categories.

TV media owners asked to name three of their biggest, recent regional advertisers cited MasterCard, United Airlines and AT&T most often for television. Print media had a higher proportion of luxury goods and high-tech products, with Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Parlux, Acer and Pioneer cited most frequently.

Of 28 TV and 38 print advertisers provided by media owners as their top regional clients, only eight were common to both print and TV: MasterCard, Visa, IBM, AT&T, Acer Computer, Chevron, Mitsubishi and Mattel. That doesn't mean marketers don't buy both print and TV; but they do appear to choose one medium to advertise in most heavily.

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