They are standard procedure in Hispanic broadcast sales. Each year, the big names like Univision and Telemundo host events where Media buyers come and enjoy lavish dinners and hammer-out the coming year’s buys.
But so far, these extended advertising commitments, known as “upfronts,” have not migrated into the culture of online ad-sales. The question is: Why? eMarketer estimates that there were 18.8 million Hispanic American Internet users in 2007, and that number will grow to nearly 25 million in 2011.Hispanics have been shown to be early adopters of technology and over-index in the amount of time spent surfing the internet. Latinos have also proven to be more receptive and responsive to advertising directed at them than their general market counterparts. Again, the question “Why are digital upfronts so uncommon in Hispanic digital media?”
According to Maria Boolori, a media buyer at Long Beach-based Grupo Gallegos, much of the reason for the scarcity of digital upfront buys has to do with client awareness of the Latin online space and confidence in ROI: “With upfronts, you generally commit to a year’s worth of advertising. When you’re dealing with networks, it’s easier to justify that commitment to the client, because the Hispanic networks are well-established,” says Boolori. “The online space is not quite there yet in the eyes of many advertisers, however. Anything that’s new you really need to see how it’s going to work.”
Marla Skiko, VP/Director of Digital Innovation at Tapestry contends that the whole concept of upfronts is falling out of favor with many clients: “I think even broadcast upfronts (General Market and Hispanic) are becoming less relevant as advertisers want more flexibility across platforms and on their own timing. Nobody wants digital on forced timing either as they are trying to move away from that for broadcast. But the idea of securing some inventory on a long term basis on the advertiser’s terms still can be appealing. I think the term "upfront" can have some connotations that are outdated and perhaps less than ideal from a flexibility standpoint.”
Even so, Skiko says that the system does still have its merits: Given the rapidly changing nature of the digital environment, it may make more sense for certain types of buys on certain sites, like display buys on major Spanish sites where branding is the main goal. Performance-based buys (direct response driven) may make less sense to commit to early on as the players in that space change more rapidly and your buy is more likely to morph based on ROI metrics.”
Related Article: Hispanic Media Buying A Q&A with Marla Skiko, VP & Director of Digital Innovation for Tapestry Marketing Co.(Sept. 2006)