Hispanic Viewership Data Remains Elusive
Adequate info is key to helping Hispanic cable achieve the next level of growth By David Tanklefsky
Marketing strategists are voraciously exploring revenue opportunities to target Hispanics in the cable marketplace. But unless adequate data is available to track growing viewership, it may be difficult for Hispanic cable to attract the sort of big ad dollars they are going for, according to a number of marketing strategists speaking at the Hispanic Cable 2010 summit.
“Learning from Latinos is really what 2010 should really be about,” said Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, chief Hispanic marketing strategist at the Walton Isaacson agency. She added that Hispanics have done a good job of combining their cultural identity with the positive aspects of acculturation. She also tried to debunk the assertion that Hispanic cable is in its infancy, saying, “It's in an evolutionary stage.”
Still, marketers believe the sector has not yet realized most of its potential programming opportunities. “Hispanic cable still remains very general interest [programming],” said Rick Marroquin, managing director of Mediabrands. “There's no Food Network, there's no Logo, there's no Oxygen.” Marroquin said that when new census data is released in 2011, consumers might begin to see more specificity in Hispanic cable.
Seeking new programming and ad opportunities in the marketplace will be crucial to a segment that saw its biggest declines yet in the first half of 2009. Advertising dropped in Spanish-language media by 6.58% compared to the first half of 2008, according to Nielsen (that dip was smaller than the 15.4% fall for the general market).
To hear the marketing execs tell it, many audience segments are being underserved in the market. “I would start a female-targeted, high-quality, well-done programming network exclusively for Latina women. They don't just want novellas,” Marroquin said.
Stephen Palacios, executive VP at Cheskin Research, said that a cable channel with some health and wellness components would be a good strategic move. Lee Maicon, head of strategy for Wing, added that a regionalized, hyper-local play could be profitable.
Advertisers Tailor Efforts To Hispanic Culture
For advertisers with the inclination, the Hispanic marketplace has turned out some palatable results and progressive campaigns. Conill Advertising's Robert Spallone and Climara Santos launched a multi-platform campaign for Toyota aimed at selling the brand's Tundra pickup to Hispanics—a group that, according to consumer research, buys mostly domestic pickups. The campaign included live events and concerts tailored to Hispanic culture and geared toward showing the strength of the Tundra truck.
“We really needed to win their respect by showing a knowledge of the consumer's culture,” said Santos, the agency's director of client services. The campaign got results; the Tundra rose in market share among Hispanics from 9% to 16% from December 2006 to December 2008, a time period in which full-size pickups were losing market share overall.
“To us, it's a no-brainer,” said Mark K. Stewart, VP of global media services for Kraft Foods, which has a Spanish-language food magazine, Comida y Familia. “You're either in the game or you're dead.”
State Farm is another brand spending lots of ad dollars in the Hispanic marketplace, about $60 million annually. State Farm Advertising Director Ed Gold said that while the Hispanic cable landscape is growing, it still has a ways to go before it can steal significant ad dollars from broadcasters Univision and Telemundo, the market leaders. “The mass viewership is still on the two big networks,” Gold pointed out.
But as viewership and ratings on Hispanic cablers grow, the advertisers will follow them. “Our efforts are going to be a bit disproportional there, but we want to be where we see the audience going,” Gold said. “As ratings increase and viewers increase [on cable], we will make changes.”—Alex Weprin and David Tanklefsky
Inside the Exploding Hispanic Population
There are currently 48.4 million Hispanics in the U.S., according to Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer with the Pew Hispanic Center, who spoke at the Hispanic Cable 2010 summit. That's more than triple the Hispanic population in the U.S. in 1980.
Passel estimated that the population would boom to 128 million by 2050, depending on a number of societal factors such as intermarriage within other ethnic groups and birth rate. But the expected growth rate, as well as the large number of young Hispanics (second-generation Hispanics have a median age of just 14), is what makes Hispanic demographics so important to advertisers.—David Tanklefsky