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Del Fa: Hispanic TV Needs Better Data

NEW YORK — In the opening keynote of the Hispanic Television Summit, Gonzalo Del Fa, president of GroupM Multicultural, issued a plea for better data and understanding of Hispanic viewers to boost the value of Hispanic TV.

“We are in a good space in Hispanic TV because Hispanics have been the growth engine of many brands,” Del Fa said.

But he also stressed that the ad business is rapidly changing. After starting his presentation with the first TV spot ever shown, in 1941, and discussing the old assumptions that have long guided TV ad sales, he said agencies and marketers now need much better data and information.

“We have been lucky buying and selling based on huge assumptions,” he said. “That was good for 75 years, but those times are over.”

Brands and agencies today want a much more detailed understanding of the behavior of individual consumers across multiple media, from TV to online and digital, and that data needs to be tightly tied into how those viewers respond to ads. and their purchasing power.

“We need to understand how they respond to a Spanish ad and an English ad … not in your office but in the real world,” he said.

Getting this kind of understanding isn’t some kind of futuristic science project, he said: “I’m not talking about 2050. We are doing it now.”

While Del Fa didn’t name specific digital media companies, he noted that to address competition from the digital world, Hispanic networks have to up their game and develop a much better understanding of consumers.

“Some media vendors know exactly what consumers are doing,” he said, and are able to hang all sorts of information onto their users. “That is where TV needs to go.”

Del Fa also noted that networks need to do a better job of developing content so that it can have greater commercial potential.

“How much do we really know about our viewers?” he asked Hispanic network executives. “In today’s world, data is really raising the bar to a place where it hasn’t been before … And it’s not just about knowing the viewer … It goes further back down the road to thinking about what they put out [in terms of programming] and what kind of audience it will bring and what is the commercial opportunity of the show.”

Unfortunately, he added, “I haven’t seen that often.”

Jon Lafayette is business editor of Broadcasting & Cable.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.