Lay of the Land: Latin American and U.S. Hispanic Mobile Markets

A Q&A with Eugenio Velasco, mobile services director for Televisa. 

  1. How many people in Latin America currently subscribe to mobile services and what is the size of the market?

There are approximately 286 million mobile subscribers in Latin America. The mobile content market in Latin America was worth approximately $600 million in the year 2005. We estimate the value for 2006 was approximately $800 million, although we don’t have an official figure as of today. We expect a 25% growth during 2007. Although mobile subscriptions will probably grow only 10-15% in Latin America, new models and technologies that permit more content download will make the mobile content market grow in a larger scale. Currently Televisa Digital’s mobile division distributes content in over 13 countries in Latin America.

2.  What does the U.S. Hispanic mobile landscape look like?

There are approximately 30 million Hispanic mobile subscribers in the US. Mobile content market in US Hispanics was worth approximately $90 million in 2006 according to information published by Verisign. Mobile content growth for 2007 is expected to be 15-20%. Currently Televisa Digital’s mobile division distributes content in the US via premium SMS advertised in TV, web, magazines and radio.

  1. What opportunity do Magazines have to provide content for mobile distribution?

Televisa Digital is responsible for Editorial Televisa’s mobile operation, offering mobile content in more than 50 magazines. By the end of 2007, Mobile Content will be available in magazines distributed in all of the countries where Editorial Televisa’s magazines are sold. Our business consists principally of 2 business models. The first is publishing magazine ads under brands not directly related to the magazine, where different content is offered via Premium SMS. For each ad, the content is cautiously selected to fit with the target reader’s likes and needs. Content offered includes wallpapers, ringtones, games and information services. The second model is offering mobile content under the magazine’s brand, including specific ads offering a wide array of content related to the magazine and created by the editorial team, and having mobile content integration in the different sections and articles of the magazine. For example, if there is an article on dieting, a mobile subscription to the magazines diet is offered at the end of such article. Mobile contests and promotions have been successful among readers. 

One of the biggest opportunities for magazine publishers in the mobile market is interactivity. Users can participate in surveys and polls where they contribute with the magazine’s content. According to the magazine’s genre, different services may be developed so the users continue to access the magazine’s content via their mobile phones. Content may even be produced by users and uploaded via their mobile phones. It is important to have a clear 360 degree strategy which considers the actual print magazine, web and mobile.