Do Advertisers Have a Blind Spot Toward US Hispanics?

Mina Kimes, CNN, April 9, 2010

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The network is Univision, and Cesar Conde is the young media mogul. He says he is surrounded by evidence that the very audience he exists to serve is undercounted and marginalized by both the private and public sectors, so he’s taken to beating the drum on behalf of his viewers, starting by needling them to fill out their census forms.

Univision’s flagship network is the fifth largest amongst all broadcast networks, but it’s actually second or third amongst 18-34 year olds, according to Conde. And yes, that counts English-language competition like Fox and NBC.

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How to cash in on the census

{snip}Current census estimates place the number of Hispanics in the U.S. at 50 million, or 15% of the total population; by 2050, it’s expected to hit 30%. Networks like Univision can leverage those numbers to lure more advertisers. {snip}

In his interview with Fortune, Conde, who ranked 13th on the magazine’s 40 Under 40 last year, said that while the media has been buzzing about the exploding Hispanic market for years, advertisers have yet to match that buzz with dollars.

Many companies still spend “several multiples” more on marketing to European countries than they spend reaching Hispanics in the U.S., he says, despite the fact that the latter, which has $1 trillion in purchasing power, is growing much faster. “It’s off by 10, 20, 30 times,” he says of the discrepancy. {snip}

The top 500 corporate advertisers in the U.S. spent 5.4% of their budgets on Hispanics last year, according to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies–far less than the group’s estimated 15% share of the population. {snip}

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Media spending is tied to variables other than population size and growth–income, for example, plays a role in the equation. As of 2008, Hispanic households had a median income of $37,913, compared to $55,530 for non-Hispanic white households.

But the Hispanic market has its own unique appeal, says Conde. For one, it’s younger. According to census data released last spring, more than a third of Hispanics are under 18 years old, compared to an overall average of 24%. Univision aims to convince advertisers that investing in a market with greater longevity will pay bigger dividends down the road.

While the new census data won’t come out until spring of 2011, Conde says it’s already piquing interest from advertisers. {snip}

Conde {snip} says. “The bottom line is, the growth in this country is coming from this Hispanic market. Investing in anything else is investing in static or declining parts of the economic landscape.”

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