Spanish-and Portuguese speaking audiences are a very important and growing segment of the world wide media, content and advertising industries. Did you know that the fourth largest newswire agency in the world is from Spain and mostly caters to Spanish speaking audiences worldwide? Yes, Spain's Agencia Efe only ranks after the Associated Press, Agence France Presse and the Chinese Xinhua news agency.
“Technology is bringing people together across media and across borders. Culture and language and content play an important role on what type of people come together (not geography)”, Cynthia Evans, Managing Director at GroupM/Mediaedge:cia, said during her presentation at Portada’s 2009 Panregional Advertising and Media Summit.
El Mundo Americas, a website targeting Latin American and U.S. Hispanic audiences recently introduced by Spain’s Unidad Editorial, highlights how media properties in the Spanishspeaking world are increasing their efforts to cater to Spanish-language audiences worldwide over digital media. “Potentially we can reach the 400 million Spanish-speaking people in the Americas” Manuel Aguilera, El Mundo America’s director tells Portada.
In fact, digital audiences often go faster than the media properties that are supposedly targeting them: When executives of large, medium sized and small niche Latin media companies peruse their online user statistics they often find that a part of their audience(sometimes the majority!) comes from overseas, well beyond the country the headquarters of the media property are based in.
As Latinos worldwide (Latin America, Spain and the U.S.) continue to become digitally-savvy, the demand for Spanish language online content increases significantly. This is particularly the case for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, where online audiences continue to grow substantially.
The number of Internet users in Latin America grew by 813% over the past eight years, a figure equivalent to more than 160 million users. In contrast, the percentage of Internet users worldwide grew by only 336% over the same time period. But is the content there? Off-line (TV, print, radio etc…) there is a wealth of content. Online, it is still relatively scarce. There is still a big gap between Spanish and Portuguese content available online —as a proportion of total world-wide online content— and the larger proportion of Spanish and Portuguese speaking people over total online population. Spanish language web page content amounts to approximately 5% of total online content, while Internet users who are native Spanish speakers —specifically in Spain, Latin America and the U.S.— total more than 12% of all Internet users worldwide.
Worldwide Latin audiences are far from homogeneous. True, some content translates well into other markets: e.g. Televisa’s Mexican telenovelas have been widely popular in the U.S., and other parts of Latin America. However, most of the times to successfully engage
their audiences these companies need to have differentiated content for each of their target markets. In fact, not only do they have to produce content in different idioms and dialects within the Spanish and Portuguese-languages, but they have to use a different language altogether to appeal to bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics in the U.S..
Portada offers the following review of media properties that have an important presence in Spain, Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, all of which have shared information
with Portada’s editorial team about how they manage and segment the content targeted to different parts of the Latin world. Perhaps, the world that best summarizes their efforts is “Glocal” (Global and (Multi)- Local).
> BBC MUNDO
BBC Mundo.com —with 5.2 million users a month— is the Spanish version of the BBC website. It attracts its highest percentage of visitors from the following countries: Mexico (25%), USA (15%, all Spanish-speakers), and Venezuela (12%).
In terms of content, the site follows the BBC’s editorial balance of international news, with a special focus on Latin America and the areas of science and technology.
Carlos Villalobos, Business Development Manager, Americas Region and Europe BBC World Service, says that: “His website content is packaged in a global edition targeted
to all Spanish-speaking users, and is diversified only by the various page sections, depending on user interest in particular subjects,” says. The BBC’s Spanish service employs a total of about 50 journalists which are mostly employed in Miami.
Terra has individual and unique websites for each country, instead of a global edition, and has a regional team for each country. Terra USA has traffic of 2.6 million unique users in the United States, while Terra Latin America has a total traffic of 60 million unique users.
In terms of content, special content is shared in specific cases, but the vast majority of each site’s content is produced by the local team. Since Terra has local reporters in each country, content is written in the common language for each country.
“As a true horizontal portal, Terra manages and produces different content, but our strong suit is News, Sports, Music and Entertainment. Terra USA produces content in both Spanish and English to reach the bilingual Hispanic market in the U.S. Each country has its own content and exclusives, but we also share special content between countries,” says Lina Baena, Account Manager, C-Com Group, Inc. a company that manages PR for Terra.
> UNION RADIO
Union Radio is part of Spain’s Grupo Prisa, which has a presence in 22 countries around the world. In fact Prisa is one of the few “true” global Latin media companies. the U.S., its main assets are Editorial Santillana, Union Radio, and a stake in broadcaster V-Me, says Luigi F. Bellizzi, Advertising and Communications Representative for Union Radio in Miami.
In Latin America, Grupo Latino de Radio is present in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Panama and Mexico, in both talk radio and music formats. The group has a global edition, as well as individual websites for each country. An example of this is Los 40 principales, or Top 40, which has its own global edition and local editions for each country it broadcasts in. About 10,000 professionals from the entire group work on the global edition. The global edition of the website www.los40.com has 1,700,343 unique users. Grupo Latino de Radio’s websites by country include caracol.com.co, besame.fm, and rockandpop.cl, among others, and have the following number of unique users: Argentina (272,823), Colombia (2,206,544), Costa Rica (49,001), Chile (633,435), Mexico (541,477) and Panama (17,194). The Spanish used by the websites is adapted to each country’s idioms. In the various radio broadcasts, however, an effort is made to maintain the use of “neutral” Spanish so that the same content can be used in different countries. Likewise, content is also differentiated according to the country receiving the broadcast. Therefore, in most cases, content is created for each media directly in Spanish. The group does not produce content in English, since it exclusively targets the Spanish-speaking market.
> AGENCIA EFE
The Spanish, government owned news agency, has a worldwide presence and a network of national news bureaus that provide detailed coverage of what’s happening in each country. EFE’s most important market is Spain, where the company is headquartered.
Nevertheless, over a quarter of its sales are made in the U.S. and Latin America. EFE has a special news service in the U.S. dedicated to the Hispanic market, covering both national news and news specific to the country’s Hispanic community.
“Seventy percent of our customers, outside of Spain, are in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market. Our international news agency has many more customers than our local news services,” says Rafael Carranza Durán, Sales Manager for Central America and the Caribbean. In its Hispanic news services, Agencia EFE uses “neutral” Spanish, following the guidelines of the RAE (Real Academia Española de la Lengua or Royal Spanish Academy for Language). However, some terms may be localized depending on the region,
to reflect differences in usage between Europe and Latin America. In terms of content, the international Latin community is EFE’s starting point for its “production of today’s news.” In other words, EFE looks for Hispanic or Latino events and figures in current global news. The news agency does not translate all of its content, but rather produces original material in all the languages it handles,” says Carranza Durán.
HOLA is a Spanish weekly magazine with a history of more than 50 years, offering news and pictures from the world of celebrities and show business.
The magazine publishes several local editions in Europe, such as HOLA in Spain, HELLO in the UK, and has operations in 10 other countries. In Latin America and the Caribbean, HOLA is present in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, United States, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela.
In the United States, the magazine distributes both HELLO to the Anglo market and HOLA in Spanish, with an average weekly circulation of 12,837 copies and 19,816 copies, respectively. Its online edition, www.hola.com, has an estimated 1.2 million unique users
in Latin America and 473,000 in the U.S. Hispanic market. Overall, Hola.com had 2,463,950 unique users for the month of September 2009. Hola has separate website editions for www.hellomagazine.com and HOLA Mexico, which have their own separate advertising departments.
Vanidades magazine was founded in Cuba in the 1930s, before transferring its operations to Miami in the 1960s in the wake of the Cuban revolution. Vanidades has been published by Televisa Publishing, a unit of Televisa, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world, since 1961, and has headquarters in both Mexico and the U.S. In fact, this year Vanidades is celebrating its 50th anniversary year celebration. It will be creating a 250 page collectable special issue focusing on Vanidades’ most covered categories over the last 5 decades: supermodels, gastronomy, fashion, beauty, travel destinations, fragrances,
music, and Hollywood celebrities. The biweekly magazine covers international trends and local market news, with articles combining information on fashion, beauty, decorating, cooking, travel and lifestyle. The magazine is present in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America, and has correspondents around the world, including major fashion centers such as Paris, Milan and New York.
Vanidades focuses its advertising according to the needs of each specific market, handling it out of local offices in each region it operates in. Mariana Toledo, marketing manager at
Televisa Publishing and Digital in Miami, tells Portada that on a regional level (including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela), Vanidades has 2,174,000 readers per issue, according to TGI data. Readers can visit the magazine’s web site Vanidades.com to access the content online.
> EL MUNDO AMERICA
Earlier this year, Spanish newspaper El Mundo launched a digital edition oriented to the Americas (the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets). The newsroom of the Americas edition (http://www.elmundo.es/america/) is based in Miami and led by Manuel Aguilera.
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 tells 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 adds. “Reporting and content from a neutral media property from Spain can be much more trustworthy”.
“There are some themes that touch all Latin audiences, regardless of the country they are in. They include sports, entertainment, economics and politics”, says Aguilera. He adds that entertainment and sports are, by far the most popular topics in terms of generating website traffic. However, politics and economics do attract an interesting audience from the advertiser’s perspective.”
“The Americas edition is divided in four sections representing geographic areas (North America, South America, Latin America and Caribe). An additional four sections are represented by Sports, Economics, Gentes. (Entertainment) and Blogs. Local Freelance journalists contribute regular articles from Latin America, North America and the Caribbean. The Miami newsroom is composed by 6 full-time reporters. The newsroom in
the Madrid headquarters supports with additional content. Aguilera notes that South Americans are very interested in how their soccer players are performing in the Spanish tournament (e.g. Uruguay’s soccer star Forlan and Messi from Argentina). It also goes the other way around with the sizable Latin American community in Madrid interested in reading what happens to their families on the other side of the pond.
“We want to be a source of content for these immigrant communities”, Aguilera concludes.
Even before launching El Mundo Americas, El Mundo had a sizable audience in North, South America and the Caribbean countries. El Mundo.es has more than 23 million unique users a month of which approximately 4.5 million are based in Latin America and the U.S. Mexico almost has 2 million unique users a month, with the U.S. Hispanic market close to 700,000 unique users a month.