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Hispanic Market: Adjusting to Life in the Mainstream

Mar 26, 2007  •  Post A Comment

By Eliot Tiegel
Special to TelevisionWeek

The Hispanic upfront presentations in New York the week of May 14 occur amidst a backdrop of evolutionary changes. Advertisers are eager to romance the continually growing domestic Hispanic audience, estimated at 43 million and rising, according to updated U.S. Census statistics. Kagan Research projects multichannel penetration in Hispanic households to continue its gradual climb, reaching 71.7 percent in 2010, up from 69.9 percent in 2005.

Jessica Pantanini, an Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies board member, said, “Corporate America realizes it needs to gain new customers and address other markets like Hispanic, which it hasn’t done in the past.”

AHAA’s projection for this year’s upfront buying is $1.8 billion; last year’s figure was $1.5 billion, with $1.3 billion the previous year. La Agencia de Orci’s senior VP of media services believes upfront spending this year will grow between 10 percent and 20 percent.

Last year, the disparity between general-market spending ($17.5 billion) and Hispanic upfront dollars was a whopping $16 billion, according to the AHAA.

Among the forces playing a key role in the fortunes of Hispanic media:

  • Univision, Telemundo and Azteca America are being included in the general-market Nielsen Television Index. (Nielsen is refining its sample universe while phasing out its separate Nielsen Hispanic Television Index survey — begun in 1991 — in September.)
  • Full-service Hispanic agencies continue to face the loss of major clients to multicultural divisions of English-language agencies.
  • Univision Communications has a new CEO, Joe Uva, currently CEO at global powerhouse agency OMD Worldwide. Effective April 2, he succeeds A. Jerrold Perenchio, who sold the company for $12.3 billion to a private investment firm last year.
  • Latino programming on cable is growing, with satellite-delivered packages adding new platforms for reaching Spanish speakers and second- and third-generation U.S. Hispanics who switch between Spanish and English programming.

Charting a new course under its new ownership, industry leader Univision and sister networks TeleFutura and Galavision are being sold as a package at the upfront. It’s a plan designed to accommodate “advertisers who feel that’s the best way to approach the marketplace,” said Dennis McCauley, co-president of network sales for the Univision networks in New York.

Mr. McCauley will address advertising opportunities for cross-platform deals involving the company’s TV and radio networks and its online operations.

“Our inclusion for Univision and TeleFutura in the NTI world makes us mainstream,” he said. “Univision is No. 5 in 18-34 and 18-49 demos behind the Big 4 [English-language] networks season-to-date. Our biggest story at Univision is audience engagement with programming, commercials and the network itself, based on the NTI. We also had 22 new advertisers for the three networks as of last October. We also converted 15 to 20 accounts from the scatter market to upfront buying.” Among Univision’s sponsors: Chase Bank, Circuit City, Macy’s, Kmart, Washington Mutual and GlaxoSmithKline.

Univision has long been a leader in product placement with its popular 20-year-old “Sabado Gigante” (Giant Saturday). Galavision focuses on Mexicans (who are two-thirds of the Hispanic U.S. population) with news, sports and special shows like “Delicioso,” a cooking show popular with packaged-goods makers, and “Decorando Contigo” (Decorating With You), which attracts home building and furnishings marketers.

TeleFutura, which skews toward men, counterprograms Univision’s novelas from 7-10 p.m. with sports, films on “Cine de las Estrellas” (All-Star Cinema) and shows like “ソQue Dice la Gente?” (its version of “Family Feud”) and “Objectivo Fama” (an “American Idol”-type talent competition).

“We expect the upfront to continue to evolve and be more mindful of clients’ marketing needs rather than just their media needs,” said Steve Mandala, Telemundo’s senior VP, sales, marketing and distribution. “We need to offer 360-degree opportunities which encompass television, online, perhaps mobile and event marketing.”

The NBC Universal-owned networks will offer marketing opportunities for Telemundo’s new reality entries and five new telenovelas as well as a profile of viewers for its all-Spanish programming, targeted at the 18-49 demographic. With its mix of English and Spanish programming, mun2 targets 12- to 34-year-olds, with 18-24 the heart of the audience.

Mr. Mandala also revealed 20-year-old Telemundo is looking to expand its late-night programming.

The mun2 presentation will focus on “its sizable increase in adult households [and] three new shows in the lifestyle (fashion, empowerment and political awareness) and music genres,” he added.

With mun2 attracting a plethora of new advertisers, including Procter & Gamble in 2006, Mr. Mandala said the “cost per thousand is closer today with English-language television than it was five years ago and will continue to improve. Increasingly, we’re seeing advertisers understanding the power of the Hispanic market.”

Since it moved from Miami to Los Angeles two years ago, mun2’s “audience in every key daypart has doubled.”

“Having our programmers and promoters in Los Angeles gets us closer to our audience,” Mr. Mandala said. A recently opened 16,000-square-foot, glass-walled performance studio on the main thoroughfare of Universal CityWalk will house several shows including “Vivo,” mun2’s key live performance variety show.

Azteca America’s new U.S. infrastructure in Century City in West Los Angeles will be one of the highlights of the network’s upfront presentation. “All our operations have moved from Mexico City,” said Bob Turner, the New York-based president of network sales, which has a staff of 20. “Hopefully the advertising community will feel after five years we’ve become a U.S. company.”

Another upfront highlight will be hour reality series “Suegas” (Mothers-in-Law), launched March 12, running weeknights at 10 p.m. and hosted by Miss Universe 2003 Amelia Vega. The show will be video-streamed the next day on the network’s Web site. Azteca plans to add additional reality shows to its prime-time lineup, home to its popular novelas.

The U.S. wing of Mexico’s TV Azteca is heavily into product placement. Mr. Turner says the staff has learned from “Big Brother” how to effectively integrate products into the script and on-air. Product placement has been offered since the U.S. network debuted five years ago. Daytime talk/variety shows geared toward females are a key outlet for product integration.

Tom Maney, senior VP of advertising sales for Fox Sports en Espanol, said his upfront presentation will stress the return of major soccer tournaments Interlega, Copa (Toyota) Libertadores, Copa de Campeones and Copa Sud Americana. “We are locked into these tournaments through 2010,” he said, adding his network and partner Fox Soccer Channel will carry Major League Soccer, including European superstar David Beckham when he joins the L.A. Galaxy this summer.

Another upfront selling point is product placement, of which Mr. Maney cites two examples: “For Tecate beer, we changed the Interlega pre-game and half-time shows from two men behind a desk to the creation of a Tecate cantina. For Copa Liberatordes title sponsor Toyota’s introduction of its new truck, the Tundra, we converted the pre-game set to showcase the front grill of a Tundra.”

This year the network also is expanding its coverage of Major League Baseball, its second most popular sport. Said Mr. Maney: “For the past six years Fox Broadcasting carried regular-season games and we had the post-season. Starting in April, we will offer 26 consecutive Saturday games of the week leading into our post-season coverage.”

The upfront marks the first time ESPN Deportes and its general-market powerhouse brother present a merged presentation. “This allows us to offer various ESPN assets in a combined theme,” said Lino Garcia, general manager at ESPN Deportes.

ESPN Deportes wil
l herald its increased distribution via satellite-delivered DirecTV and Comcast’s Dish Network, its airing of summer soccer tournament Euro 2008 and an increase in boxing, which Garcia said “is the one sport which cuts across all the different Latino groups, not just Mexicans.”

Felix Perez, the network’s senior director of ad sales, said the Spanish network’s male/female breakdown is “80/20, similar to that of ESPN.” When Deportes starts being surveyed by the NTI, he expects a 40 percent increase in new advertisers in all categories. “Our current major advertisers are the automotive, auto aftermarket, retailing and wireless services.”

While the main Hispanic TV nets program for a broad audience, Si TV, a 3-year-old general entertainment network, focuses on English-speaking, U.S.-born young Latinos. The network’s “separate and distinct,” all-English programming, as CEO Michael Schwimmer defines it, will be highlighted in its first series of roadshow presentations April 10-May 3 to Miami, Dallas, San Antonio, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and nearby Costa Mesa. Among its sponsors: GM, Toyota, McDonald’s, Nintendo, Verizon Wireless, Disney Destinations and Lionsgate Films.

A major first for this upfront, notes Sharman Davis, media director at New York-based agency Prime Access, is the propensity of “a lot of networks to position themselves with integrated proposals encompassing online sites and radio stations. It’s more than television. It’s the first time this is being done to this degree to capture a bigger piece of the pie.”

Buying in the upfront is not an automatic decision. “It depends on the client’s strategy and whether they have national distribution,” adds Tomas Ruiz, director of media buying services at Bromley Communications.

Mr. Ruiz finds with some potential clients, “The need to educate [on] the power of Hispanic TV hasn’t gone away.” Hispanic full-service agencies also must sell themselves strongly against the media-buying departments of general-market agencies. Bromley, in September 2005, lost P&G to Tapestry, the multicultural buying and planning wing of Starcom MediaVest. “The switch shows the power of Hispanic media to attract a lot of new players,” Mr. Ruiz said.

The latest challenge for ad agencies, he believes, is dealing with the “bilingual, bicultural viewer. It’s a topic we’ve been exploring for several brands; we’re doing separate plans and buys that target the bicultural client as well as the general-market viewer.”

Teddy Hayes, senior VP of media services at La Agencia de Orci, says the optimum way to deal with bilingual households is “to create culturally relevant English-language creative that would run on English-language programming with a high concentration of Hispanic viewers, like ‘American Idol’ and ‘Desperate Housewives.'”

Ms. Hayes cites two programming areas with risk factors for clients: reality shows and product placement. “If product placement is appropriate for the client and is organic to the storyline, we use it. However, there are a lot of ramifications for the insurance category.” Among the agency’s clients are American Honda, Allstate, Verizon and two product lines of Georgia Pacific. Reality shows, she admits, “scare clients that are risk-averse because they don’t know what will happen.”

Linda Gonzalez, president-CEO of ViVa Partnership in Miami, and Debbie Richmond, executive VP at its San Antonio branch, know what must be done in dealing with the growing bilingual audience of second- and third-generation viewers. “We need to pay close attention to the programs they watch, like ‘The ALMA Awards,’ ‘George Lopez’ and ‘Ugly Betty,'” said Ms. Gonzalez.

“You have to keep your eyes open for opportunities that are affordable with budgets. Si TV and mun2 target bilingual Hispanics, while TeleFutura’s English-language movies with a Spanish soundtrack are also popular,” said Ms. Richmond.