Analysis: The Spaniards are coming! Prisa, Unidad Editorial, Telefonica, BBVA etc…

Last weeks announcement that Spain’s Prisa’s digital unit (Prisa Digital) is strengthening its team for the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets with new additions to its Miami team reflect the strong bet Spanish media companies, particularly in the digital realm, are placing on expanding in the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets. The rationale is simple: content and context for audiences in Spain can be exported relatively easily to audiences in Latin America.

Earlier this year Prisa’s CEO Juan Luis Cebrian noted that Prisa is going to leverage its global brandLiberty invested in debt-ridden Prisa: is the Spanish company’s growth potential in the Latin world.

in the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America. In fact, the main reason why U.S. private equity group

Prisa has substantial radio assets in Latin America and in the U.S. (Prisa Radio), Santillana, a major text book publisher is a very strong player all over Latin America and Prisa’s flagship newspaper Spain’s El Pais has editions in Argentina and Mexico and recently partnered with Miami’s El Nuevo Herald for a Florida Edition. However, the main growth driver seems to lie in the digital realm. Its digital media assets originally catered to audiences in Spain. But almost without wanting it, millions of Latin Americans and U.S. Hispanics have found themselves visiting sites such as Elpais.com and as.com. Now Prisa knows that it is time to dedicate efforts to monetize that traffic as well as to launch and acquire new digital media ventures across the Americas.

In a few weeks, Prisa will introduce a discount shopping site called planeo.es whose offering will be included in all of the group’s media assets including El Pais , sports newspaper As and radio chain Cadena Ser.

Prisa is not the only Spanish company that is betting on a LatinAmerican and U.S. Hispanic expansion. Unidad Editorial, publisher of El Mundo newspaper and of sports daily Marca, launched an Americas digital edition in Miami last year. There is no media on a regional level that meets the needs of the Latin American public, there is in TV, but not in the digital space”, Manuel Aguilera, El Mundo America’s director told Portada. “Elmundo.es is a digital property with a high credibility in many countries. Often Latin American citizen view the media of their own country with distrust because national media properties can have economic interests within their countries and this influences their reporting, Aguilera added. “Reporting and content from a neutral media property from Spain can be much more trustworthy”.

Sport, a crucial passion point. 

Spaniards, Latin Americans and U.S. Hispanics have a huge passion for sports. As importantly, soccer is their main sport. This also lends itself very well for sports content. Antonio Fernandez Galiano, CEO of Unidad Editorial noted at last years Portada Latam Advertising and Media Summit that he sees many opportunities for launching Latin American digital and print editions of his Marca sports newspaper.

Spain’s Telcos and Banks

Large Spanish corporations  have for a long time made their Latin American expansion a priority. The trend is getting even stronger now due to the Latin American economic boom (in strong contrast with  the protracted. slump of the economy in Spain).

Spain’s largest company, Telefonica, has its main expansion area in Latin America: 60% of its customers, accounting for more than 43% of Telefonica sales, live in Latin America. Telefonica recently acquired Vivo. The acquisition made Telefonica the undisputed leader of the Brazilian mobile market, which has 150 million cellular users (fifth-most in the world). Telefonica’s Global Marketing Director Belen will be the keynote speaker at our upcoming 2011 Latam Advertising and Media Summit in Miami, June 1-2, Amatriain will provide an in-depth look at how Telefonica creates, plans and implements Latin American marketing campaigns both from a global and local perspective.

Other companies such as financial giants Grupo Santander and BBVA derive a substantial part of their revenues, sometimes more than 50% from Latin America and, to a lesser extent, from the U.S..     

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