Starmedia publishes Latin internet study

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SAO PAULO--StarMedia Network, Latin America's leading pan-regional Internet brand, has published a study on the media habits of its users.

Some 48% of StarMedia users in Latin America say they have reduced the amount of time they spend reading the newspaper and 46% claim to have cut back on their TV viewing, according to a survey conducted by the research institute Laredo Group Inc. The institute interviewed 12,253 people in Latin America. According to the study, 67% of the people from the region that use the free, Spanish-language Internet service are between 18 and 34 years old.

Latin American StarMedia users spend an average of 8.2 hours a week connected to the Internet and 90% use it to send e-mail. Some 75% take part in chat room discussions compared to the U.S., where only 13% use the net to socialize, according to a 1997 Business Week/Harris Poll.

Of those StarMedia users interviewed, 63% use the Net to look for products and services, 58% to read news and 56% to do research.

When it comes to advertising, 69% of the people interviewed consider online advertising an efficient tool to cut access costs and 58% see companies that use internet marketing as innovative. At least 35% of users have shopped online at least once. Their main product interests are electronics (62%), computers (61%), travel (58%), cars (52%) and finance services (42%). At least 91% of the StarMedia users want to plan their trips online.

Earlier this month, StarMedia launched a $30 million advertising campaign across Latin America to promote itself as a local service. The campaign is running on national and regional TV and print media.

The creative work was handled its recently appointed agency, Buenos Aires-based Heymann, Bengoa, Berbari.

Ogilvy & Mather handles media buying in Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Spain, while McCann-Erickson handles in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Hispanic market.

Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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