Ad execs iffy on Hispanic viewer count

Nov 5, 2001  •  Post A Comment

It’s time to make the measuring of Hispanic viewers much simpler, according to a number of advertising agency executives.
Currently, Hispanic viewers are included in both the National Hispanic Television Index and the National People Meter service (the National Television Index), sister services provided by Nielsen Media Research.
“It’s a waste for both Nielsen and its clients to have a separate national TV service for Hispanic viewers,” said David Marans, senior partner at the giant media agency MindShare, New York, and the company’s research guru.
“With the census showing that one out of eight Americans are of Hispanic ancestry, surely a more effective approach would be for Nielsen to simply fix its widely accepted NTI service to ensure that Hispanics are accurately represented,” said Mr. Marans, who has taken the lead in trying to get Nielsen to eliminate the NHTI.
The problem, he said, it that Hispanic viewing numbers don’t match between the two national services. The NHTI samples about 800 homes; Nielsen’s goal is to have 600 Hispanic homes in its National People Meter Sample. “It wastes a lot of time having to go back and forth between the two services when you want to make a buy,” Mr. Marans said. “It is totally inefficient-and needlessly so.”
Mr. Marans’ position appears to be picking up steam among other agencies. “I tend to agree with him,” said Frank Campisi, VP, Research and Insight Center at MPG Media Planning, New York. “The NHTI should be folded into Nielsen’s basic service. I think you’d find agreement on that from most agencies and from most sellers.”
Even the Spanish-language network Telemundo appears to agree. “We would welcome some integration of the two services,” said Telemundo’s senior VP of research, Millie Carrasquillo, with one important caveat: “We need to make sure that Spanish-language dominant households are represented in correct proportion. Historically, the NTI has underrepresented the Hispanic community, which makes it a difficult selling document.”
Nielsen executives took exception to Mr. Marans’ characterization of continually having to check the NHTI being a “time waster.”
“It’s certainly not a time waster for the Hispanic community,” said Jack Loftus, Nielsen’s VP of communications.
“And it’s certainly not a time waster for advertisers and agencies whose specific target is Hispanics,” said Doug Darfield, Nielsen’s senior VP of Hispanic services. He added that the NHTI is also valuable for smaller Spanish-language networks “whose numbers wouldn’t be readable in the smaller sample [of Hispanic homes in NTI]. Different businesses have different needs.”
Mr. Marans said if he isn’t successful convincing Nielsen to drop the NHTI and get better Hispanic viewing numbers in the NTI, “We are going to press the issue with advertisers who, after all, directly or indirectly pay for these research services.”