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Latin American Online Media: Then and Now

Fernando Madeira, CEO of Terra Networks, talks to Portada about the changes


Portada: How does the current phase of Latin American online media compare with the late nineties? Are we now on solid ground?

 FM: Latin America online media always have been on solid ground, the main differences are related to:

       Market size: today online consumer figures are more relevant to advertisers than before, thanks to broadband, behavior and maturity. Broadband allows a much better internet experience (video, time spent and so on) and easily convert internet users into online consumers. The LA (Latin American) internet user also exhibits advanced behavior in terms of internet usage: Chile and Brazil are ranked #6, and #7 respectively, among the Top 15 countries worldwide by average monthly hours online during Jan 07 by comScore World Metrix.[1] These facts provide advertisers an enormous potential to invest in online media in the region. 

       Advertisers: during the late nineties, most of the advertisers wereinvesting online because they “must-have-to-be-but-with-no-good-reason.” Itwas the “bubble” effect that everybody knows. Now, advertisers in LA are investing online because they “must-have-to-be-because-their-consumers-are-there.” Period!

       Portals:  “Darwinism” has selected the best specimens in nature and this enormous “debug” has filtered the winners. In other words, the largest portals in LA nowadays have enough muscle to compete against global internet companies/brands and offer unique portfolios of content and services to LA consumers. The portals evolved not only in terms of products, but also in relationship and products to advertisers, media agencies and the trade market. Those customers find in LA, world class services in online advertising.

Portada:  What are you doing in order to attract business from U.S. based advertisers who want to buy Latin American online media to target U.S. Hispanic online audiences (geotargeting)?

FM: First, product: Terra is the only portal in LA that offers a powerful mix of content (professional and UGC) and services focused in Latin America. This product attracts eyeballs in 18 countries (including US Hispanics) in LA. So, secondly is audience: Terra has more than 42 million unique/visitors/monthly. More than 60% of this audience is on broadband. Last, sales team: our sales team is located in 9 countries (including USA) to offer local assistance. We also have a regional sales organization to coordinate regional campaigns to multinational advertisers. Besides that, we regularly conduct regional research about the LA market to help agencies and advertisers understand better our region and customers.

Portada: What type of online advertising (display, search, rich media) do you see growing the most and why?   

FM: Video ad. Because the inventory is growing fast, the audience too and the advertisers will follow this trend. The response to online video campaigns is amazing and the brand awareness achieved pushes the advertisers to invest heavily in this format. 

Portada: What is your favorite metrics for the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic online advertising space?

FM: Each metric has its usage depending on the needs and goals of the advertiser. So, my favorite metric depends on what my advertisers prefer.

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