Behind the Scenes at AHAA’s 23rd Semi-annual Conference

Almost as important, if not more, as what goes on on the panels, is what attendees say to each other at the networking events. Here is a recount:

Growing Online Market

A substantial amount of Hispanic online ad sales networks are coming into the market. They seem to be the next big thing, after the large acquisitions of Online Ad Sales Representative Networks by large online media properties in the general market, investors and media executives are betting that a similar development will happen in the Hispanic market. MeMedia this week announced the launch of a Hispanic online Ad network, and AHAA attendees and sponsors included  representatives from MeMedia, Admixture and HolaNetworks.

Print Advertising in 2007

Some attendees from the print advertising community noted that 2007 had been a challenging year for their newspapers. This was particularly the case for Hispanic newspapers published by larger general market newspapers, which were subject to general market related declines in sales. Some participants noted that the rationale to invest in the Hispanic market is much stronger than to invest in general market print and that this difference should be stressed more in front of Advertising Agencies.

However other representatives of the print community said that the second half of the year had been much better than the first with a particularly strong month of November coming up.

Boom and Bust?

Some Hispanic print media properties have been scaling down their investments and even laying off personnel, as the size of the Hispanic Print Advertising Market has just not been large enough to cover the overhead of some of these companies have. A few of these properties have been backed by private equity investors who are reevaluating their presence in the sector. This is particularly the case of a Texan chane of Spanish-language newspapers, attendees to the event pointed out.

Mobile Communications the way to go?

Is any media property (that is not a pure online player) making money with their online media vehicles? The clear answer to this, as looked at by many conference attendees is “No” or “Not yet”. Pure play Internet plays are much stronger in selling online advertising, despite the fact that their brands don’t have strong consumer recognition. How to monetize online has not only been an issue for the Hispanic- (print) media market, but also for general market (print) media properties.

While, the digital media space economic equation is still a conundrum, many newspaper publishers noted that cell or mobile phone platforms may make much more sense financially to expand into. Media planners from The Vidal Partnership also told Portada that mobile communications, due to the high penetration of mobile phones in the Hispanic community and the high response rate of this vehicle, are a hot theme going into 2008 media buying and planning season.

Related Article: At the AHAA 22nd Semi Annual Conference: Speakers and Attendees Discuss the Implications of Digital Media