Are Retailers Properly Targeting English-Dominant Hispanics?

Dec 01, 2004

By Terry Soto

According to a recent survey conducted by Hispanic Business magazine, the top 25 Hispanic-advertising agencies spend approximately 90 percent of their total billings on Spanish-language advertisements. There are a number of indications, however, that a large segment of the U.S. Hispanic population spends their media viewing and listening time on English-language media and entertainment, and advertisers are taking note.

Impressed by the financial success of films such as Frida and A Day Without a Mexican, a growing number of U.S. production companies and distributors are gearing their efforts toward English-speaking Hispanics.

The potential market is enormous, with Hispanics making up 40 percent of opening-weekend moviegoers, and is particularly attractive due to the market’s high proportion of English-speaking youth. Film companies believe they can target this segment of the Hispanic audience without losing the mainstream market.

“We found that 55 percent, almost 60 percent, of what is considered the Hispanic market consumes American TV in English. That’s a huge number because, in the end, that’s the young audience and the audience that really carries the money,” says Alvaro Garnica, film division director at Plural Entertainment, a Miami-based entertainment production subsidiary of Spanish media giant Prisa.

On the small screen, a new twist on culturally relevant programming was seen on syndicated television this fall. Latin Fuze is the first English-language program that is laser-targeted to young Hispanics males (over 60% of all U.S. Latinos). A weekly half-hour program, the show fittingly showcases the blending of contemporary Latin and American cultures, producing a fusion of lifestyles known as “Latin Fuze.”

The English-language market for U.S. Hispanics is also especially notable in magazine readership and the Internet. According to People En Espanol’s “Hispanic Opinion Tracker,” while 78 percent of Hispanics read magazines in Spanish, 83 percent of Hispanics also read them in English. ComScore Media Metrix reports that only 21 percent of Hispanic Internet users prefer Spanish-language sites, while 52 percent prefer English language and 28 percent use both equally. These findings, along with additional statistics reported by the Pew Hispanic Center, suggest that the language used in advertising to Hispanics is just as critical as the medium.

Moderator’s Comment: Are your marketing efforts inclusive of this large English-speaking Hispanic segment? Will marketing budgets need to be adjusted
to enable targeting of the various Hispanic language segments? How do you see your media selections changing given language skews?

Implications for retailers are simple — do not ignore the fact that you have a large Hispanic consumer base that is comfortable being addressed in English
and ensure that your English-language efforts represent and address them. However, make no mistake, they may speak the language, but culturally, these are “hybrid” consumers who
do not want to be regarded as Anglo.

Terry Soto – Moderator

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