Hispanic TV Summit: Ad Challenges Grow As Market Expands

As the Hispanic TV audience keeps exploding, marketers face challenges in terms of effectively targeting their messages.

That was a key takeaway from a panel session called “Marketing Roundtable: Exploring the Growth of Hispanic TV Audiences” at Wednesday’s Hispanic TV Summit.

In a comment that sparked some vigorous discussion, UNO Entertainment Partner Gustavo Mena picked up on a speech delivered just prior to the panel by Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas, accepting an outstanding achievement award. Salinas noted her early stint at Univision-owned L.A. station KMEX. Mena said the station’s call letters “are no accident,” adding that 2010 Census data show that 65% of U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican descent. “Univision has known that from Day 1.”

Others on the panel, which was moderated by Adriana Waterston of Horowitz Associates, disagreed with Mena. Guillermo Hidalgo, GM of Ecuavisa International/INTI Network, said the Hispanic market “is like a country unto itself,” made up of distinct regions.

Ruth Gavria, evp of corporate marketing for Univision, agreed but also said age demos trump nationalities. “It’s not even about where viewers are from. It’s a millennial play.”

Advertisers can innovate but won’t find success without marrying their messages with content that matches the appetite of the audience, argued Oswald M. Mendez, evp and chief marketing officer at MundoFOX. Too many programmers are failing to diversify their slates, falling back on familiar formats and packages. “You can invite a customer into a shop, but if the shop is empty, they are not going to stay and shop,” he said.

Geetanjali Dhillon, vp of marketing and digital for Sony Movie Channel and Cine Sony Television, noted that signs of rising Hispanic presence in the mainstream market are multiplying. “When the last Fast and the Furious movie opened over the summer, 32% of its first weekend audience was Hispanic,” she said. “This audience moves between platforms – they are two times more likely to own a tablet. It gives us an unprecedented opportunity.”