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Research: Hispanic Broadcasters Lag on HD Ads

The fifty-plus million Hispanics in the U.S. are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S., yet Hispanic TV networks and stations are lagging behind other TV outlets in delivering ads in HD, according to a new report issued by Extreme Reach, a provider of digital ad distribution services.

In a new study, it found that in the first quarter of 2012 only 7% of the ads delivered over its network to Hispanic TV outlets were in HD, less than half the rate for local broadcast TV outlets, where 18% of ads were in HD, and under a third of the rate for all TV outlets, where about 22% were in HD.

The results are particularly notable because Hispanics have a much higher rate of ownership of HD sets than the overall population, with about 78% of Hispanics homes having at least one high-def set versus 68% for the general population, according to data from the Consumer Electronics Association cited by Extreme Reach.

In a statement, Extreme Reach's CEO John Roland noted that the high levels of HD set ownership among this large and rapidly growing population opened up a significant opportunity for advertisers willing to spend the money on producing and delivering HD ads: "By distributing HD advertising to Hispanic broadcasters in markets where there is high HD adoption, advertisers may be able to make a difference with sizable, yet under-served Hispanic audiences, given the effectiveness of the HD format in building brands."

Roland also noted that a recent report by Nielsen projected that Hispanic audiences will account for the majority of population growth over the next five years, and that their buying power jump by 50% to $1.5 trillion in 2015.

One major reason for the lag in HD ads is the lack of investment by stations and networks in upgrading their infrastructure. Hispanic broadcasters lagged significantly behind mainstream broadcasters in the launch of HD signals and the Extreme Reach data shows that they continue to trail in HD ad capabilities.

According to its data, 54% of all U.S. local TV broadcaster accept and air HD advertising, but only 39% of local Hispanic TV stations are capable of accepting HD ads. Likewise, only 36% of Hispanic TV networks can handle HD ads versus 63% national broadcast TV networks.

Advertisers were also lagging. Only 34% of TV ads were delivered in HD to Hispanic TV networks compared to 52% to all TV networks.

Hispanic broadcasters in the top five U.S. Hispanic markets tended, however, to perform better.

Only 33% of Hispanic stations in Houston, Texas, were able to accept HD ads, way behind the HD adoption by all other local broadcasters (60%). But HD adoption by "local Hispanic TV stations in Los Angles (50%), New York (50%), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (50%) and Dallas (67%) are in line with the national average for HD adoption by local broadcasters (54%)," the study noted.

These five cities account for 37% of all U.S. Hispanic TV households, Extreme Reach noted.

The data is based on an analysis of a sample of 225,000 ads delivered over the Extreme Reach network in the first quarter of 2012.