It is striking to see how many new social networking sites targeting Hispanics and Latin Americans are being created.
1. What new players have recently entered in this sector?
In the last three weeks two players made significant moves. Bebo announced that it is expanding into the Hispanic market by partnering with eight-year old sister network AOL Latino as well as Hearst Digital, which will provide video, photos, polls and various content from its MisQuinceMag.com site.
In addition, Mio.TV bought Spanish Social Network Wamba.com. Mio.tv’s aim now is to reach more than 50 million Latinos in Europe and the Americas with its video, games and social networking facilities—a goal given an instant boost by Wamba’s 8.4 million users, mainly in Spain and Mexico. Mio.tv aims to become the default bilingual online portal for the millions of latinos on the web, offering a slew of online video channels, gaming, social networks and communication services.
Last year, Radio One purchased Social Networking site Migente.com’s parent company Community Connect Inc.,(CCI) which also owns Black Planet and Asian Avenue for $38 million. Radio One announced that the purchase of CCI was meant to diversify outside of radio broadcasting, and cash in on social network advertising revenues, which E-marketer predicts will reach $4.1 billion annually by 2011.
2. Are there the same players in the Hispanic market as in the U.S. general markets?
What is interesting is that the players that are active in the Hispanic and Latin American markets sometimes differ from the major players in the U.S. market (MySpace and Facebook).
3. Is there a rationale for Hispanic specific Social Networking Sites?
There is a clear demographic imperative for Media companies to target multicultural audiences via Social Networking sites: Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders collectively will outnumber Whites by the year 2042. In fact, among children, major users of social networking sites, under the age of 18, they'll outnumber Whites by 2023. But cant general market social networking sites meet that demand? Yes, if you look at the fact that MySpace Latino and Facebook lead in the ranking with social networking sites with most Latino users. However, as the market evolves and more Hispanics go online that may change. According to Juan Alduncin, president of Panamerican Media, a firm that sells online advertising for major portals, including QuePasa.com, Hispanics have specific cultural demands and ways of communicating and a social network exclusively targeting them can best meet that demand.
One specific demand is in the realm of music, Hispanic social networking site QuePasa is currently negotiating with a major music library provider in order to distribute that content over its website. QuePasa has more than 8,000 communities (forums around particular topics) created by its more than 400,000 U.S Hispanic users (according to ComScore). Advertising in community sites can be sold at high CPM´s because the audience is very defined.
Other Hispanic social networking players include MyGrito.com, LatinosConnected, MiGente and Salsalicio.us.
1. Hispanic SNW sites cater to different demographics within the Hispanic market
2. Large number of users actively engaged with the content
3. Advertising viewed on friend’s page adds word-of-mouth credibility
4. Music, seems to play an important role….
Yes, another online media company with a strong social networking component is Batanga. Batanga.com features a large collection of streaming Latin content with exclusive online radio stations, on-demand music videos, lifestyle news and gossip from the Latin entertainment world. As QuePasa, the website maintains a dual language consumer experience.
Cyloop is another company with a strong bet on music. Hoodiny(Parent company of Cyloop) and Terra.es (Owned by Telefonica) entered into a joint-venture to create a powerful music platform. The result was a co-branded site, accessible from both cyloop.terra.es and terra.cyloop.es.
“The way we are growing Cyloop as a music service is by being very flexible. Cyloop does not only exist as Cyloop, but also all Warner music properties in LatAm are powered by Cyloop. We leverage all of our technology to deploy our platform for given labels. We are not selling advertising right now in Latin America. Instead, we are partnering with ISPs, media companies, music retailers and wireless companies, providing them with branded Cyloop platforms that they can build their communities around. We take care of all tech and back-end systems”, Demian Bellumio, president of Cyloop told Portada.
5. What social networks lead in Spain and Latin America?
To the ones cited above – MioTV , Cyloop and Wamba- there are other major players like Hi5. In addition, Hispanic specific social networking sites like QuePasa and Batanga get a substantial amount of visitors from Latin America.
Hi5, is the world's third-largest social network behind Facebook and MySpace It has a significant amount of share in Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish-speakers made up 40% of the site's 59.6 million January visitors. Overall, Hi5 gets about a quarter of Facebook's traffic and a little less than half of MySpace's, according to comScore.
The San Francisco-based company is creating an online "glitter economy" involving digital doo-dads that can be swapped and traded by its 70 million registered users.
6. The “global”channel of the Internet must play a role in reaching out to Spanish – speakers worldwide….
Yes, particularly the production and distribution of radio content and online video content targeting Spanish-speakers has global dimensions.Telemundo, for example, is broadcasting telenovelas over Spanish Internet channels.
7. Does the advertising pay enough for Social Networks to thrive?
The jury is still out. Generally it has not been that easy to convince major brands to advertise in social networking sites. This is because the brand can´t control the environment the advertising is placed in. So it is not always easy for social networks to monetize their traffic with advertising revenue. However, the very high engagement of social networking users and the ability to target them around specific themes (forums, microsites etc.) lends itself very well for creative online advertising programs.
Hispanic social networking CPM and CPL should also command a premium over general market social network advertising. In addition, particularly online video advertising (e.g pre-roll) should become a major money maker as users of these sites tend to download lots of videos and music.