Advertising Aimed at Hispanics Escapes Malaise

New York -- Advertising aimed at Hispanic audiences will continue to grow at a healthy rate next year, even though the “salad days” in the expansion of ad spending are over, a media analyst said Wednesday at the Fourth Annual Hispanic Television Summit 2006 here.

Advertising on television, on radio, in print and on the Internet aimed at Hispanics will expand at a projected rate of 8% next year, to $4.1 billion, according to Lee Westerfield, managing director of BMO Capital Markets. By contrast, overall advertising spending in the United States will grow only 3%, he said.

“We are, in my judgment, at the peak of the expansion of advertising,” Westerfield told attendees at the Copacabana in midtown Manhattan. “We have been enjoying the salad days of expansion.”

A “down cycle” is looming in 2007, he added, which means slowing growth. Television, radio, print and entertainment advertising have been under pressure, while Internet media have been the main recipients of growth.

Not even Internet media are immune, however. The largest Internet portal, Yahoo!, saw its stock hammered this week when it reported a 37% drop in profit and slowing growth in advertising revenue.

And Westerfield’s projections indicated that even the heady growth of advertising spending on Hispanic audiences is slowing. The projected growth rate of 8% next year for advertising aimed at Hispanics compares with 13%, 7% and 11.8% growth, respectively, in the past three years, according to statistics presented by Westerfield.

Cable-system operators have been reaching for their share of this growth. Cablevision Systems, which operates primarily in the New York area, launched a 30-channel service for the Hispanic audience called iO Español, said John Trierweiler, senior vice president of consumer-product management.

And they have even been among the advertisers. Comcast this week began advertising its triple play of video, Internet and phone services on Univision Communications television stations, according to VP of video products John Vonk.

The operators are also trying to promote adoption of their triple plays by appealing to the interests of Hispanic audiences to make long-distance calls. Cox Communications bundles minutes of calls to Mexico in its packages of services, according to Tony Maldonado, VP of marketing. And Cablevision offers a $20-permonth “world-calling” add-on to its bundle.