While a 3.8% increase in US magazine ad sales in 2004 represented the largest industry gains since 2000, that growth is nominal when compared to the Hispanic magazine market, which experienced a dramatic 18,5% spike in ad sales over the previous year, according to figures provided by HispanicMagazineMonitor.

Overall, magazine advertising in the U.S. saw considerable growth in the food and financial markets in 2004- 31.3% and 33.1% respectively- while pharmaceutical and technology advertising dropped sharply- the latter for its third consecutive year.


What was true of the general market, however, was not necessarily so for the Hispanic magazine ad market, which posted large gains in most categories. While the general market saw a 16.1% drop in technology ad sales in the first quarter of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004, the Hispanic market witnessed an increase of almost 40% over the previous year in the same category. Similar margins presented themselves in the automotive and retail categories.


Despite these dramatic statistics, there is no consensus in either the Hispanic or the general market about what ad category will be next to carry the industry into the next era of unbridled prosperity, as the technology sector did in the 1990s.


Says Latina Magazine Publisher Beth Press,“We have not seen one category stand out from any other, in particular. Things are segmenting.” She added, “Just as there is no typical profile of a Hispanic person in the US, there really is no general Hispanic market. The interests of a first generation Hispanic in the U.S. are going to be different from the interests of a 3rd or 4th gen. Hispanic.” Thus, we are seeing industry beginning to fill in the gaps in Hispanic magazine advertising to reach as much of this “segmented” audience as possible.


When asked whether she felt that advertisers were becoming more familiar with Hispanic audiences, she replied, “Not really. I think that they are just realizing that there is a very large Hispanic market out there and they are starting to open up their coffers to reach that market.”


And it is quite a sizable market. With a purchasing power estimated at $700 billion that is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2010[1], it is a market that cannot- and will not- be ignored. So the question again arises: What sector will step forward and energize this enormous revenue source and breathe new life into Hispanic magazine ad sales?


Vista Magazine Publisher Gustavo Godoy says he too is seeing growth across the board. “It's everything,” he says. “Cell phones, household cleaning products, health-related products – really the only noticeable drop-off has come from pharmaceutical advertising.” That decline in Pharmaceutical advertising he attributes to a number of factors, including the industry's recent legal woes, and the high-cost of full-page saturation-marketing methods that are typical advertising methods of pharmaceutical companies.


Amelie Ferro, an ad-sales executive with Leading Hispanic Media, says that she expects to see growth in both the telecommunications and automotive industries: “Telecommunications is expected to grow- particularly in the Satellite/cable industry- not only because ad budgets for those categories are on the rise, but also based on the continued rise of home ownership among Hispanics.” The expected rise in automotive advertising is borne of the same logic: as more Hispanics become home owners, the demand for vehicles to transport them to and from those homes increases.


During the first quarter of 2005, Interestingly, while traditional media ad-category (print, radio, and televison) dropped by an astounding 35.5%, online media such as portals and content sites have experienced unprecedented growth in Hispanic Magazine advertising posting a 276% increase in ad-sales from 2004 to March of 2005.


So what's going on here? Do these figures mark the end of traditional delivery mechanisms of advertising to Hispanic audiences? Are the ad-sales numbers reflecting a clear demand for certain products and services among the Hispanic community? More likely, the numbers that depict dramatic growth in particular ad-categories in Hispanic magazines are more indicative of industries branching out into hitherto unexplored marketing territory, than they are of any spike- or decline- in demand for particular types of products and services among Hispanics. Amidst these choppy waters of uncertainty, optimism and speculation, one thing is for certain: Hispanic advertising is on the rise- overall- and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. What shape it ultimately takes is yet to be determined.

Alex Andrews


Portada Staff

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