Segmentation, it seems, is taking hold in the region.
From pioneers HBO Ole, Canal Fox and CNN International, experts say market-specific and pan-Latin American TV broadcasts have evolved into a mirror image of the U.S. cable market of a decade ago. Today, scores of networks are beamed into the region, and many more are preparing for the move.
The result is an increasingly segmented medium that offers advertisers specific niches for targeting audiences.
Continued cable and satellite reach will fuel the demand for segmentation. Argentina and Mexico are the most mature cable markets. Brazil alone is growing by more than 50,000 cable homes a month, and should top 1 million by 1997, said Raul de Quesada, VP-advertising sales with Travel Channel Latin America.
SATELLITE TV ARRIVES
In July, DirecTV, a direct satellite service from Galaxy Latin America, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will launch in Mexico, with expansion to other markets before year-end.
"The market's ripe for being able to have choice," said Charlotte Leonard, senior VP-Turner Entertainment Networks International, which has CNN International, TNT and Cartoon Network in the region. "People are going to watch different niche networks. You don't have to be No. 1 at absolutely everything to be successful. If you reach your target audience, and you make them happy, and you make your advertisers happy, and you make your money from it, you are a success."
Print has been equally successful. Continued segmentation is providing niches to advertisers, who historically had few titles from which to choose. Newsweek en Espa¤ol launched in May. Editorial Televisa has had products in the region since Vanidades launched in 1961, and three more titles are planned for the coming year, said Enrique Perez, international advertising director with Editorial Televisa, a division of Grupo Televisa, Mexico City, with 40 titles in Latin America.
SOME MARKETS STRONG FOR PRINT
The strongest print markets have been Chile, Ecuador and Colombia. Weaker markets are Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. Central America is strong and Mexico is returning, he said.
Latin America may be attracting attention, but the market has only a few top regional titles, said David Taggart, editor and publisher of Florida-based America Economia, a magazine on regional economics. The region has seen a "slower than expected" launch of titles in local languages, except for Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal Americas.
Part of the problem has been fear of the emergence of TV and the share of media dollars it may garner, he said. Other reasons revolve around publishers' focus on other new project areas, including Europe and Asia.
"Everyone's talking plans, but nobody's had the nerve to jump in feet first," said Mr. Taggart, whose magazine recently launched a survey on regional management to gauge how Latin American executives view key management issues.
Indigenous print vehicles also continue to attract target marketers, said Myriam Milgrom, senior account executive with Charney/Palacios & Co., a Miami-based print media rep company. Where TV is targeting the upscale or high-end middle class concentrated in the larger cities, print provides segmentation and reach into lower markets and outlying areas, she said.
Brazil's Veja magazine, for example, is the world's fourth largest newsweekly, with a 1.3 million circulation and a readership of 4.5 million. With a color page rate of $48,800 and an audience that measures 25% in the upper class A bracket and 59% in the upper class and upper-middle class bracket, it provides broad reach into the local population, she said.
DISPOSABLE INCOME GROWING
Historically, Latin Americans didn't have disposable income. With the growth of a middle class in some markets, and a preference for branded products-as identified in a May 1996 study from the Television Association of Programmers Latin America-media and advertisers are finding receptivity for a broader line of goods and segmented network products.
"We have to be aware that in a developing country, the consumers are not only these high, upscale people," Ms. Milgrom said. `