Hispanic Market: Leveling Field in Ratings Game

Mar 26, 2007  •  Post A Comment

By Eliot Tiegel
Special to TelevisionWeek

Spanish-language TV’s three main networks, Univision, Telemundo and Azteca America, are being rated against mainstream English-speaking networks by the Nielsen Television Index. The separate Nielsen Hispanic Television Index (NHTI) will continue in operation through September. How do broadcasters and media buyers rate the NTI survey so far?

“This is the first upfront guaranteed on the NTI,” said Sharman Davis, media director at Prime Access. “It’s going to be difficult to explain to a buyer that a 10 last year is now a 1.6. A move from a 10 to a lower rating doesn’t reflect any change in the vitality of Spanish television; it’s only arithmetic.”

Bob Turner, president of network sales at Azteca America, says being included in the NTI survey “affected revenue and [we] saw some audience levels drop down. We had meetings with Nielsen, and now we see the NTI numbers are more consistent.

“When buyers and clients see consistency in ratings, they begin to feel more comfortable in placing their business. The concern among Hispanic networks,” he said, “is that the right households and people are being measured.”

Felix Perez, ESPN Deportes’ senior director of ad sales, cited the industry’s move toward one measurement stick, the NTI, to promote its appeal to the “totality of Latino households.”

“Having one sample, we’ll be able to deliver English-dominant and Spanish-dominant viewers as an integrated brand,” agrees Lino Garcia, the network’s general manager.

Tom Maney, senior VP of advertising sales for Fox Sports en Espanol, lauds the NTI’s inclusion of Spanish TV, citing “the evolution of the marketplace in which a single sample will bring together all the data needed to target consumers.”

Michael Schwimmer, CEO of English-language Si TV, sees the NTI’s surveying all Latino networks as a “natural evolution. The English-speaking Hispanic market is mainstream. The Spanish-dominant audience is large enough to be included in the NTI as well. Fifteen percent of the U.S. market is Hispanic and should be part of the mainstream measurement system.”

“When you look at all dayparts, the overall data for NTI and NHTI is comparable,” said Tomas Ruiz, Bromley Communications’ director of media buying services. “But when you look at specific networks and specific time periods, there’s still some margins between what NTI and NHTI are reporting, so it’s an area of concern. Our agency has done research to study how both ratings vary so we can be ready for the conversion to NTI this September.”

“There will be new advertising going on Spanish-language TV based on NTI figures,” predicts Teddy Hayes, senior VP of media services, La Agencia de Orci. But there won’t be any equal amounts of ad dollars going to Spanish and English networks “any time soon.”

When the time comes that all Hispanic networks are rated by NTI, the results will be “more startling to general-market media planners because they never saw Spanish-language television represented before in the NTI,” Mr. Hayes added.