The Hispanic local search market is at once one of the more underdeveloped and increasingly competitive battlegrounds in U.S Hispanic media at present. Local search is the use of specialized Internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically constrained searches against a database of local businesses. U.S.
Local search revenues will grow from $2.1 billion in 2007 to $6.6 billion (25.5 percent CAGR) in 2012, according to the Kelsey Group. In the Hispanic market, local search is still small, although yellow page publishers (e.g. Seccion Amarilla, Superpages en espanol and HYP) are increasingly entering this area. Yet applying a modest 5% of the overall market ratio, the Hispanic local search market will amount to annual revenues of $330 million by 2012. “We literally got this round of financing by the hair on our chins,” says Intelligenx COO Azim Tejani, who is launching local search company YaSabe.com in Q1 of 2009, of the cash-injection the company received just before the heavy turmoil hit U.S. and foreign markets.
Tejani tells Portada, “We’re going to focus on the 10 highest population Hispanic MSAs in the country, by bringing content hitherto unavailable to the marketplace,” says Tejani, noting that their strategy is to bring unique content proposition through distribution partners. Using advanced search technology, the company will provide Hispanic consumers access to a proprietary database of 15 million U.S. businesses via the wired and mobile Internet.
The information will be available in both Spanish and English so that the site can cater to a broad audience of Hispanics, Spanish-preferred and English-preferred. Regardless of the language preference, Ya Sabe will present content in the context of Hispanic culture, including specialized themes around traditional Hispanic holidays and celebrations and life events (e.g., Quinceañera celebrations). “We’ll be able to slice and dice the data,” Tejani says, and to bring a unique set of products to the business community. “For instance, we could go to a wedding magazine and give them a searchable database of all wedding planners in the country.”
The company will aggregate its base of Hispanic consumers using a unique data syndication model aimed at existing destinations on the Internet, including Spanish language newspapers and radio and TV stations.
Ya Sabe will offer its distribution partners highly-functional deep and rich content and several ways for partner destinations to generate incremental revenues. In addition, it will offer next-generation applications for mobile devices, including the capability to query the database in Spanish using SMS and WAP. The company will pursue relationships with wireless carriers in order to offer mobile search applications that are co-branded with carriers that want to differentiate their offerings for Hispanic consumers.
Guías Local is a Florida-based local search company that was launched without external funding by ex-stock broker George Ramos: “I personally made the decision in 2008 to avoid partners while creating and focusing on the architecture and coding of Guías Local. I believe launch partners and sponsors in the early stages can get in the way of creativity. Upon launch, new interested partners can have a better understanding of the Guías Local digital canvas,” Ramos tells Portada. Now that Guías Local is operational, Ramos is interested in securing additional financing, preferably from a venture capital outfit. “Since I have funded the project via bootstrap, I'm sure both VC and Media companies have more respect for Guías Local,” Ramos says. “If Guías Local is fortunate to get a VC to back us, we would like one that has experience and ties in the Hispanic market.
As an ex-stock broker, have seen hundreds of companies climb and fail. The ones that climb have a good board that specializes in various aspects of the business. A strong VC with a good team can help you achieve goals above and beyond your expectations.”
Guías Local will deliver over 170 major cities to start. The project will continue after launch with the building of additional cities. “We all know the rule of thumb in business,” Ramos tells Portada. “Money will help take the project to another level.”
3D Digital OOH in Hispanic Grocery Stores A:
California-based company named Provision Interactive ha signed agreements to install its custom 3D kiosks in independent Hispanic grocery stores throughout the state: “Our 3DEO kiosks will initially be going into Hispanic grocery stores, not Albertsons or A&P or other ‘mainstream’ store chains,” says Curt Thornton, President and CEO of Provision. “We’ve signed a total of 47 so far in the greater LA area, where we’ll be placing the kiosks at or near the front entrance as they enter the store. We want to provide value driven, money saving promotions to consumers as they enter the store so they can save money via coupons, discounts, sweepstakes or other point-of-sale incentives that are either inside their local store or in their neighborhood.
Meanwhile, they’ll get a chance to have fun with our 3D holographic ads which again, will be targeted to the products in and around the store by the manufacturers supplying products and services.” The ads will appear in either Spanish or English, depending on the advertiser’s preference. Provision will be working with several agencies as well as working with a few advertisers directly. Thornton says that the company will continue to add Hispanic grocery stores in the greater Los Angeles area and ultimately throughout the state of California. They will also be announcing several thousand additional locations that will be predominately Hispanic convenience stores in 2009.
In terms of cost, Thornton tells Portada, “You’ll find that the CPM rates for digital out-of-home are very competitive when compared to print or online, especially when you consider things like coupon redemption rates inside retail stores versus print or online coupons. Advertisers on Provision’s network include Coca Cola and other Fortune 500 companies.
Rolling with the Punches: Ap Re-Tools Spanish-Language Offering
Asked whether the U.S. economic crisis has negatively impacted demand in Latin America for the AP’s Spanish-language content, Latin American Regional Director Ed McCullough says, “We haven’t seen any cutback in demand. Our Latin American revenue has gone up roughly 10% year over year for last two years. Obviously we’re not going to continue growing at that pace and we will likely see the effects of the economic slump before long. But demand is still strong.”
Last March, the company announced the consolidation of its Spanish-language resources with the creation of the World Spanish Desk which combined the existing Spanish Online Desk and the Print Translation Desk. This consolidation will continue, as McCullough will move to Miami and oversee Spanish-language operations from there.
“We’re going to examine how to leverage existing content in ways that would best serve our clients,” says McCullough. “One thing we’re looking at doing is adapting some of our English language content to Spanish and offering it to media outlets in heavily Hispanic states.” He adds that in tough economic times, it could be more efficient for some publishers to secure AP’s Spanish-language content than to keep extra reporters on staff. AP’s Spanish-language video offering is one that also may be scaled up, says McCullough. “We’re improving the product we already have. With Spanish Video, we’ll be moving from our current offering of 5 per weekday to 7 per weekday in the first half of next year, hopefully.
Goal is to boost the offering to ten daily videos within two years.” One idea is to add specifically Latin American news content. The real stumbling block is that bandwidth costs are so high to transmit the material. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and find ourselves in a losing position, so this will all be implemented in a way that correlates with existing demand,” McCullough tells Portada.
Reflecting on how current economic conditions in the U.S. might affect AP’s Hispanic strategy in the coming year, McCullough takes an optimistic tack: “The difficult business climate can actually helpful because it forces you to focus on how to offer your clients the best product at the best value.” He explains that it was this approach that led the AP to begin offering a la carte content purchases instead of the expensive subscription options. “We used to be like a content fire-hose, just blasting out evermore information,” says McCullough. “Recently, we’ve made a strong effort to offer our content to clients in a way that maximizes the value of their investment. They can by one photo or story or they can buy hundreds.”
V-Me and Itunes ink deal:
Spanish language network V-me has announced a new partnership with iTunes to distribute the network’s content digitally According to sources at V-me, over 30 hours of children’s content, music and celebrity interviews, including titles like,” “LazyTown” and “Viva Voz con Jorge Gestoso”, are available for purchase on iTunes.
Citing that Hispanics over-index in digital content downloads, a V-me CEO Carmen DiRienzo expressed satisfaction that their audience would be able to access V-me content on-demand.
Bestbuy Pursuing Multi-plataform Hispanic Strategy in 2099:
BestBuy is actively pursuing the Hispanic market across multiple channels in 2009 despite, or perhaps because of, the suffering economy. “We plan to continue connecting with their passion points around sports and entertainment, as is evident in our sponsorship of the Chicago Fire. Digital will play a significant role. As for our future involvement we are aggressively pursuing opportunities in both the online and mobile space given the over indexing of these products by our core Hispanic customers. We are investing as a company in making information available to our customers how and when they want it.”