Sounding Off: Torres “From TV to digital: Hispanic consumption habits and brand strategies”

In this article Carmen Torres (photo), Hispanic Media Supervisor at 22squared, describes the changes in the US Hispanic digital landscape and why it is important to understand these changes in order to better connect with the Hispanic consumer. According to Carmen, there is a huge opportunity for networks and advertisers to connect with Hispanics via online video and web novelas.

Hispanics have always been identified as heavy consumers of online, mobile and social media. Digital technology plays an important role in the lives of Hispanics, as it’s primarily linked to two of their most important pillars: family connections and culture. The Internet makes their lives easier by providing quick access to information, products, and news from their countries of origin. As a result, the Hispanic digital landscape is evolving, and we’re starting to see how media consumption has been influenced by it.

When it comes to adopting new technology, Hispanics outshine their non-Hispanic counterparts in device ownership. A recent eMarketer study showed that 18% of Hispanics own a tablet, versus 8% of non-Hispanics, with similar patterns for Internet-enabled TVs, e-book readers and 3D TVs. With all these options, it’s no wonder media consumption habits are changing, especially when it comes to TV. Thanks to the influx of new technology, consumers have the opportunity to choose how, when and where they watch TV. Although this is where the market in general is heading, it’s fair to say that Hispanics may get there faster because of how they interact with new technology, particularly when it comes to connecting with family in their home countries.

According to eMarketer, Hispanics spend an average of six hours and twenty-two minutes per month watching online video, while white non-Hispanics spend only three hours and forty-four minutes, and African Americans spend five hours and forty-eight minutes per month. The reason Hispanics’ time spent is so much higher? In many cases, the Internet is the only way they can access programs, novelas and news from their home countries. Also, the Hispanic population tends to be younger than the general population, in parity with the online-heavy user, who is also younger.

A ComScore study revealed that Hispanics’ engagement levels with online advertising surpassed non-Hispanic consumers in 2010. Hispanics are also more likely to find online ads entertaining: approximately 31% of Hispanics enjoy watching online ads, versus 19% of non-Hispanics. Additionally, 36% of Hispanics are willing to click on ads to get further information about a product, versus 29% of non-Hispanics.

This means there’s a huge opportunity for networks and advertisers to connect with Hispanics via online video and web novelas. Univision recently announced a partnership with Hulu to provide Spanish language content to their subscribers, and Telemundo partnered with YouTube to launch a Spanish language video channel. It’s good to see how these networks acknowledge how TV viewing is evolving, and that they’re offering online content in order to better reach the Spanish-speaking Hispanic consumer.

Carmen Torres is a Hispanic Media Supervisor at 22squared. She has more than 14 years of experience managing media plans for the US Hispanic market and Latin America. Carmen began her career at Y&R in 1997 and has worked with some of the biggest brands in America, such as Publix, Macy's, Chevron, American Airlines and Colgate-Palmolive, among others.

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