Census To Extend Hispanic Media’s Reach

The growth of the market won't be as big a surprise as in the 2000 census, but should detail a market with increasing complexity and wider distribution across the U.S.And it will have a major impact on both mainstream and Hispanic media.

The 2000 Census was shocking to many advertisers and television stations. Its findings showed the Hispanic population wasn’t merely a fast-growing demographic group but, rather, an exploding one. The results triggered a rapid expansion in Hispanic TV and other media and the advertising to support them.

The 2010 Census now underway will again transform the Hispanic media when findings start coming out next year, the experts say. But with this census, it’ll be the increasing complexity and wider distribution of the Hispanic population, rather than the mere growth, that will have the greatest impact.

“This census will have advertisers and marketers focusing much more on the segmentation within the Hispanic market,” says Julio Rumbaut, a media consultant in Miami. “The population has become much larger, unquestionably. But it’s also become much more diverse.”

The results of the 2000 Census were eye-popping. The Hispanic population soared 58% from the 1990 Census, to 35 million people, it found. That was much faster than many demographers had expected. Hispanics became the fastest growing minority and the largest at 12.5% of the U.S. population.

“The 2000 Census was really a wake-up call, in terms of the growth of the Hispanic population and the Hispanic consumer market,” says Jeffrey Humphreys, director of the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. “Virtually everyone in corporate America had underestimated the number of Hispanics going into the 2000 census.”

The 2010 Census is likely to confirm what most people already know– that the Hispanic population has continued to surge throughout the first decade of the 21st century.


The Census Bureau’s final estimate for the Hispanic population before the 2010 results come out is 48.4 million people, up 37% since 2000. That’s 15.8% of the U.S. population — one out of every six people.

Hispanic media outlets have grown even faster. The number of networks, TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and media websites aimed at the population has more than doubled since 2000, from 1,051 to 2,400, according to New York-based ad agency D Exposito & Partners.

Ad spending on all that media soared 164% from $1.47 billion in 1999 to $3.88 billion in 2009 (more than four times faster than the population), according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media. As a percentage of total advertising in the U.S., it grew from 1.46% in 1999 to 3.1% in 2009, Kantar says. (Kantar’s figures include TV, print and online, but not radio).

Broadcast TV kept pace during the decade. Then as now, Univision is the No. 1 Spanish-language network with NBCU’s Telemundo the perennial leading contender. Each has its own long list of O&Os and affiliates.

Other broadcast networks have pushed into the market, including Univision’s TeleFutura, Spanish Broadcasting System’s Mega TV, Liberman Broadcasting’s Estrella TV, LATV, Vasallovision and TV Azteca’s Azteca America.

Some are carried on stations’ main channels; others on their digital multicast subchannels.

According to SNL Kagan, there are 324 Spanish-language TV stations now on the air, not counting the multicast channels.

There are also plenty of cable TV networks targeting Hispanics, but only about 10 with significant distribution. Top players include Univision’s Galavision, which launched in 1979. It’s typically the most-watched Hispanic cable network.

Others include Telemundo’s bilingual mun2, the privately owned English-language network Si TV, sports networks ESPN Deportes, Fox Sports en Espanol, GolTV, CNN en Espanol and Discovery en Espanol.

Advances in Hispanic media are due in part to improvements in media measurement, although critics say there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

Nielsen, for instance, ditched its Hispanic-only surveys in 2007 and folded Latinos into its national and local samples, included with national people meter ratings and local people meter data in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami.

Moreover, the Census Bureau since the early 2000s has been doing a better job of keeping tabs on all demographic groups in between the decennial censuses with its annual American Community Survey.

Due in large part to that better tracking, media watchers do not believe the findings of the 2010 Census will be the surprise that the 2000 census was.

What they do expect is that the census will reveal that the size of the Hispanic population will have again soared, likely to more than 50 million.

But, more than that, the census is expected to tell a story of a Hispanic population that is becoming increasingly diverse — the language spoken at home is changing — and more spread out around the country.

“What we are going to see is Spanish-language media in new geographic areas that haven’t traditionally had Hispanic broadcast like Charlotte, N.C., Arkansas and markets in parts of Washington state,” says Gisela Girard, president-COO of ad agency Creative Civilization and chair of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA). “Advertisers in these areas are realizing they need to communicate with cultural relevance to increasingly larger segments of their populations.”

The wider distribution of the Hispanic population is something that Nielsen and other media measurement companies have been keeping an eye on for years.

In 2000, the 10 largest Hispanic DMAs accounted for 57% of the Hispanic population, according to Nielsen. Now, just 52% live in the top 10 Hispanic DMAs — Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco and Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas.

“There was a perception [in 2000] that the market was very concentrated in a few urban areas,” says Rumbaut. “Ten years on, I think we’ll see a lot more in rural areas in the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and the Midwest — all over the place.”

The Nielsen research shows that dozens of markets have experienced triple-digit percentage growth of Hispanic homes since 1999. The media impact may be most pronounced in small markets like Sioux Fall, S.D., and Lafayette, Ind., which recorded growth of 613% and 277%, respectively. Hispanics now matter to media and advertisers in such markets.

The Census Bureau also keeps tabs on the language that people speak in their homes with the ACS. It’s findings going forward will likely reflect what other research studies have been finding: Hispanics are increasingly speaking English.

Media research firm GfK MRI, for example, found in 2010 that 48% of Hispanic adults are English dominant — they speak English at home all the time or most of the time. That’s up from 46% in 2005.

The language spoken by Hispanics affects the media they use, of course. That means cookie-cutter Spanish-language TV media buys are no longer enough to reach Hispanics, says Girard.

“We divide the market into three segments: Spanish-dominant, bilingual and bicultural — the largest segment in many markets,” she says. “The third segment is English dominant. Understanding these segments is critical to advertisers and even more so as we move forward.”

Media studies have been showing that Hispanics, like much of the rest of the population, use a slew of media types, including online and mobile media.

For instance, 57% of Hispanics use the Internet, up from 41% in 2002, according to Hispanic Cyberstudy, a study by research firm Cheskin for AOL.That compares to 71% of the total population using the internet, up from 58%.

And 32% of Latinos use their cell phones to access the Internet, compared to 20% of all people, the study says.

“Before 2000, this was a market of two TV stations; Univison and Telemundo were pretty much it,” says Enrique Dussan, VP and director of communications planning at Hispanic ad agency Wing. “But nowadays the market is completely different. It’s becoming more like the general market. There are more outlets and we’re finding that Hispanics respond super well to online and mobile.”

And, as with the 2000 census, media experts expect the findings of the 2010 census to lure more advertisers to Hispanic media.

“In 2010, this census will be a wake-up call for advertisers who’ve been sitting on the fence,” says Lillian Roman, senior partner and associate director of national broadcast at global media agency MEC. “I think they’ll see it’s a growing market that can no longer be ignored. The advertiser pool will grow.”

This is Part I of a two-part special report on Hispanic Media. In Part II next Wednesday, TVNewsCheck will focus on Hispanic broadcast TV and how it is evolving along along with the Hispanic population.

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