Adlink Targets Hispanic Ad Market in L.A.

The addition of Galavision and Fox Sports Español to Adlink's insertable-networks roster is an early step in the Los Angeles interconnect's aggressive plan to pursue the burgeoning Hispanic market.

"L.A. is the No. 1 market among the top 10 markets in buying power for the Hispanic population," said Adlink vice president of marketing and communications Vicki Lins.

The interconnect is staffing up its new Spanish-sales division with a Hispanic account executive/manager, a coordinator and an assistant, executive vice president of sales and marketing Hank Oster said. "We'll start small and grow [the division] as the revenue grows," he added.

Adlink will reach Hispanics by inserting on the two Latino networks and up to 35 general-market cable networks with high concentrations of Hispanic viewers. It's also zeroing in on geo-demographic districts with high Latino density, executives said.

That way, Adlink expects to target not only the "existing or traditional Hispanic ad budgets," but also those marketers interested in translating their Anglo campaigns to reach the affluent Hispanic segment, Oster said.

The objective is in keeping with Adlink's mission statement, "Targeted TV-that's what we are," Oster noted. "We spent a lot of time studying this strategy," he said.

Oster and Lins-who see opportunities for Spanish-language and bilingual commercials on the two networks-said many clients may want adapt general-market campaigns with Spanish voice-overs.

Adlink plans to hire freelance translators and to work with clients' Latino ad agencies, rather than hiring full-time translation teams.

Prospects range from packaged-goods clients, such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Kraft Foods, to automakers, beverage companies and financial-services firms.

Although there can be nightmarish situations in which some translated words convey different meanings to different Hispanic cultures, Oster felt this would not be as big a problem in Los Angeles as elsewhere.

The Los Angeles Latino community is dominated by Mexicans, followed by South Americans. "We don't have as much [Hispanic] diversity as Miami and New York, and that'll play to our advantage," he added.

By clustering the Latin networks with the 10 general networks most popular with Hispanics who prefer English (including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, MTV: Music Television and USA Network), the executives said, Adlink can deliver a combined 20.4 primetime Hispanic household rating.

According to Adlink's statistics-laden sales pitch, the 6.3 million Latinos in Los Angeles, the largest Hispanic market, represent 20 percent of all U.S. Hispanics, nearly 12 percent of the total population and 40 percent of L.A.'s population, according to Strategy Research Corp. data.

Several researchers at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Multicultural Marketing & Media Conference last fall projected that Hispanics could soon pass African Americans as the largest minority, en route to 14 percent of the U.S. population by 2020.

Los Angeles has twice the number of Hispanics as New York. Hispanics have a total buying power of $273 billion, according to Strategy Research, with those in Los Angeles accounting for $57 billion of that.

Some 59 percent of Hispanic households in Los Angeles are Spanish-language-dominant, trailing only Miami and Chicago, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

About 26 percent of Latinos in Los Angeles communicate only in English, Nielsen estimated. These assimilated Hispanics tend to be more affluent, with household incomes of $50,000-plus per year, according to Scarborough Research Corp. Moreover, Adlink noted, "Nearly one-third of Los Angeles Hispanics own home computers."

Advertisers now spend $170 million on Hispanic television advertising, led by fast foods, retailers, telecommunications, entertainment, consumer electronics and automotive buyers, according to Nielsen estimates.

The marketing-savvy interconnect also plans to bring its expertise in forging co-branded network-marketing and sales-promotion tie-ins to bear, Lins said. She will hire a bilingual and bicultural promotions coordinator to tap into the Hispanic sector.

Oster said there's another reason for the ad community to welcome Adlink's entry into the Hispanic marketplace: "Advertisers need more alternatives to expand their reach [among Latinos] and also to expand their negotiating power."

Univision Communications Inc. affiliate KMEX is by far the dominant player in the market at present.

Oster expected the new unit's greatest impact to be felt in the second half. Adlink projects a 50 percent uptick in ad sales for the first half, factoring in the Hispanic operation.

Galavisión is available to more than 1.4 million Los Angeles subscribers, led by AT & T Broadband's 333,000, Time Warner Cable's 268,000 and Charter Communications Inc.'s 243,000. Fox Sports World Español is in 674,000 cable homes, led by 278,000 on MediaOne Group Inc. systems and 218,000 from AT & T Broadband.

Those two networks are the most widely distributed Latino cable networks in Los Angeles. But Oster said Adlink doesn't intend to stop there. "We're absolutely interested in adding others" down the road, he said.

Other prospects include CNN en Español and Discovery Español.

Adlink now is inserting on 40 networks. "If we can figure out a way to bring those to the table, we'll go down that road," Oster said.