With Hispanics, One Size Doesn’t Fit All

New York — How do companies
measure, market and
program to the multifaceted
Hispanic audience in the United
States? Marketers and agencies
can start by not treating
that market as a monolith, but
rather the diverse, bilingual
and multiplatform consumers
that they are.

That was the take-away from
the “Hispanic Consumer Behavior
and TV Viewing Habits” panel
at the Multichannel News/Broadcasting
& Cable
eighth annual
Hispanic Television Summit here
on Sept. 29.

It’s no secret to marketers and
agencies that the Hispanic consumer’s
infl uence is growing.

The 2010 Census will reveal
that the Hispanic population
has grown by 3.5%, four times
the population growth rate for
African-Americans. Half of all
Hispanics in this country are

“More and more consumption
is happening in the Hispanic market,”
observed Carol Hinnant, senior
vice president of national
network sales, advanced media
and information, at Rentrak.

Hispanic programming
amounts to two billion hours a
month. Of brand-new TV homes,
38% will be Hispanic.

“This whole idea of a majority
minority is very much a reality,”
said Jessica Pantanini, chief operating
officer of Bromley Communications.

Javier Palomarez, president
and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic
Chamber of Commerce, an advocacy
group that works with the
administration and Chamber of
Commerce on immigration and
other issues, noted that Hispanics
are the fastest growing segment
of small business owners.
Hispanic-owned businesses already
account for $465 billion
annually in revenue. And with
money comes influence.

“Hispanic business is hot,” Palomarez
said. “It’s on the lips of
any senator or congressman and
certainly anyone who wants to be
president of the United States because
of the impact the Hispanic
community has on the economy.
The potential is huge; it’s really
how do you unlock that growth?”

Indeed, marketing to Hispanic
consumers,the panelists said, has
remained stolidly status quo, a
one size-fits-all approach to a vast
and complicated demographic
that breaks along linguistic, cultural
and technological lines.

“Language is no longer what
defines Hispanic content,” Aldo
Quevedo, president of Dieste,

“At the end of the day [the Hispanic]
household is a very complex
household,” Pantanini
added. “I think we spend a lot of
time trying to make it fit into this
little box. It’s getting a lot more
complicated and a lot more interesting
and also a lot tougher.”

That complexity calls for a
complete reframing of a marketing
message that is increasingly

“The Hispanic household is
multigenerational and multitechnology,”
observed Daisy Exposito-
Ulla, chairman and CEO
of d expósito & Partners. “Technology
is the main differential in
today’s environment versus 10
years ago. So it’s very complex.
And traditional media planning
and buying like it was 10 years
ago is no longer sufficient.”

Part of the problem is a lack of appreciation
of the power, signifi cance
and complexity of the Hispanic
community on the part of chief
marketing officers, who Palomarez
noted, have a “life span” at any one
company of about two years. “So
the person you really need to sell to
is the COO and the CFO.”

Exacerbating the problem,
noted Pantanini, are the internal
machinations and jockeying
for power at agencies and corporations
that would seek to make
inroads in the multibillion-dollar
Hispanic market.

“There is an internal power
struggle about who does what,
who controls the budget,” Pantanini
said. “Budget is P&L and P&L
is power.”

But despite the rather unequivocal
data demonstrating the
growth and consumption of the
Hispanic consumer, age-old perceptions
persist. In the end, the
key to unlocking the potential of
the Hispanic market, for agencies,
marketers and content providers,
is education.

“I’ve been around for a long
t ime,” noted Exposito-Ulla.
“Twenty-five years ago, Hispanics
were all going to speak English by
now. We’re still speaking Spanish.
We’re still growing. We’re still vibrant.”


Comcast is driving up the
number of choices to its Hispanic
customer base, and now off ers
as many as 60 Spanish-language
networks in its footprint, said
Homer González, director of
products and services for Comcast
Media Center.

“We’re concentrating on value,
being able to bring a wide
breadth of Hispanic content to
the market, and out of that we’ll
see what resonates or doesn’t resonate,”
González said on a panel
at the Hispanic Television Summit.
“Our ability to communicate
the value of that investment
is upon us, and it’s shared by the

Comcast’s expanded lineup is
“significantly more than we’ve
seen in the past and that will
continue,” he said. Th e MSO also
plans to increase the number of
video-on-demand selections for
Hispanic viewers as much as fivefold,
González said.

For some Hispanic programmers,
the big challenge is building
viewer awareness, said
Guillermo Sierra, Vme Media’s
chief content officer and senior
vice president.

Vme’s 40 over-the-air networks
are available in 75% of
U.S. Hispanic homes, and the
stations are available on cable,
Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T
U-verse and Verizon FiOS. Yet
many viewers in the target markets
don’t know the channels are
available to them.

“Now we’re 100% focused on
growing awareness,” Sierra said.
“We’re already in people’s TV sets
but we haven’t been able to touch
their minds.”— Todd Spangler


Hispanic networks can
better differentiate themselves by
providing compelling content, a
panel of top programming executives
said at the summit.

Fox Deportes executive vice
president and general manager
Vincent Cordero said that major
events, particularly sports, will
continue to drive viewership.

“It’s about product that really
speaks to the audience,” Cordero
said at the panel moderated by
Multichannel News programming
editor R. Thomas Umstead. “It’s a
fragmented market out there. ”

While sports remains strong,
Cinelatino chairman James Mc-
Namara said movies are still what
draws the biggest Latino audiences.

Each of the panelists agreed
that language no longer defines
networks. Most Hispanic households
have at least one member
that speaks English, and younger
family members speak it almost
exclusively. That, and the fact that
in many large cities, Hispanics
are becoming the majority, has
forced even mainstream programmers
to address the market.

“The issue is really, ‘Does it entertain?’
” McNamara said, adding
that as the Latino population
grows, Hispanic programming is
no longer niche programming.

“Hispanic is the new mainstream,”
McNamara said. “There
is no escaping this demographic.”
Several mainstream networks
have created Hispanic characters
for their most popular shows. That
has caused traditional Hispanic
networks to seek out content that
is mainstream while also speaking
to Latino culture and concerns.

At Mun2, a sister network to Telemundo,
general manager Diana
Mogollon said that young Hispanics
are the growth engine, adding
that demographic wants “culturally
relevant and language-agnostic”
programming. “The sweet spot is
the young Latino,” Mogollon said.
Mike Farrell