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To industry outsiders, the NewFronts seem like something out of Mad Men – and that’s because they are.

For the uninformed, the NewFronts are digital’s answer to television’s Upfronts, through which networks debut programming including new shows and old hits, and executives do their very best to wine, dine and schmooze their way into securing commitment from advertisers before the season starts.

In contrast, the NewFronts are events held over the course of two weeks that are organized by digital video companies to show advertisers the kinds of bang they can get for their buck on their platforms. Those who can’t do that are “left to the scatter market,” as Yahoo’s director of sales for US Hispanic Matthew Harris says.

Ditching Old School for Digital

It’s all very old school, which is why it seems strange that digital, such a modern rejection of everything TV, would try to copy TV. But as digital slowly starts to catch up to television, the NewFronts have come into their own, and the increasing value of reaching the Hispanic consumer has played no small part in shaping today’s digital landscape.

Multicultural Digital always rises to the top as a priority due to the Hispanic consumer media behaviors.

Harris affirmed that US Hispanics were a “recurring theme” at Yahoo’s even this year, and that Joe Zee, Yahoo’s style editor, mentioned Hispanic consumers in his presentation, which was “a signal of Yahoo’s broader commitment to the Hispanic community,” confirmed Harris.

But reaching Hispanics means understanding the evolving Hispanic consumer. Harris pointed out that Yahoo transformed its Yahoo en Español  into Yahoo US Hispanic for bilingual, acculturated audiences, as “Spanish-language only is a disservice and disadvantage,” Harris says.

Mobile and Video Reign

“Multicultural Digital always rises to the top as a priority due to the Hispanic consumer media behaviors,” says María Fernández Ordóñez, senior vice president and and media director at the agency Identity. Hispanic consumers tend to keep up with the latest trends in mobile consumption, so “when developing media plans for this consumer and seeing how driven they are to use digital media and particularly mobile and watching video, these two platforms get the highest media allocations,” Ordóñez adds.

popsugar-newfronts-hed-2016-444x250All platforms were excited to introduce their Hispanic-oriented content to advertisers. Geoff Schiller, POPSUGAR’s CFO, comments that it went beyond its regular POPSUGAR Latina channel this year, creating strategic partnerships with Mas Mejor, Broadway Video’s premium comedy studio starring Latino influencers.

At its NewFronts event, POPUSUGAR also premiered Cooking Rodriguez, a scripted comedy about an aspiring Cuban YouTube chef created by Marlena Rodriguez, a writer who contributed to season two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

In general, the NewFronts also reflected the general shift in advertising budgets from television to digital. Ordóñez notes that IPG committed $250MM to buy Google Preferred inventory for Broadcast 2017, and 250MM more to an upfront deal with YouTube. Schiller says: “TV to digital investment has yet to reach its apex, but many brands such as General Motors and Hilton are making deep investments with us in the digital video space and we anticipate investments like this to increase substantially, both with POPSUGAR and across the industry.”

Viewability didn’t seem to be a huge concern, at least nobody will admit that it is. But everyone is investing in understanding consumer behavior – with an emphasis on Hispanic consumers. Yahoo says that its data and insights team is constantly producing material on trends in Hispanic behavior so that advertisers are assured to connect with this complex audience, and both Yahoo and POPSUGAR have put together studies of US Hispanic digital consumption and behavior.

Understanding Consumer Behavior

Other trends included the increasing adoption of technology and data to optimize resources. Yahoo believes that its “focus on data” is more important than ever, as Harris highlights the company’s acquisition of Flurry, an analytics firm, which provides access to millions of touch points across mobile devices to help him and his colleagues learn about audiences and find device IDs, and BrightRoll, the DSP that helps Yahoo serve advertisements and target audiences.

While the NewFronts still maintain the structure of television’s upfronts, the digital landscape is now large and complex enough that we would be wise to stop comparing the two.

All of this technology is aligned with the company’s content strategy for news, lifestyle, sports and finance in a restructuring effort that Harris says helps the company “focus on the couple of things we do well, hone in on them and take resources that were too spread out.”

While the NewFronts still maintain the structure of television’s upfronts, the digital landscape is now large and complex enough that we would be wise to stop comparing the two. Digital is still creating its own path and grappling with how to make the best use of its data, but there is no doubt that today, consumers are living in a digital realm on multiple screens, and advertisers are paying attention.

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Nuances of culture are important for anyone trying to reach Hispanics, from political candidates to mainstream brands to media.

Fox Buys Majority in National Geographic Magazine and Cable: Will  Climate Change Denial Win?

The 127-year-old nonprofit National Geographic Society has struck a $725 million deal that gives 21st Century Fox a majority stake in National Geographic magazine and other media properties, expanding an existing TV partnership. The agreement will give the company controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s family a 73 percent stake in the new National Geographic Partners venture. The National Geographic Society retains 27 percent ownership. The move shifts the longtime nonprofit flagship magazine into a for-profit venture. The arrangement brings together National Geographic’s magazine with its cable channels and other media businesses.  This is the second major deal announced in the last 10 days which puts together TV and magazine assets, the other one being the acquisition of Meredith Corporation by Media General. National Geographic originally partnered with Fox in 1997 to launch the National Geographic Channel. Officials said aligning the various media brands will help fuel future growth. In the Hispanic market, NatGeo-MundoFox (now MundoMax) ad sales are operated by Fox Hispanic Media. “This expanded partnership, bringing together all of the media and consumer activities under the National Geographic umbrella creates vast opportunities and enables this business to be even more successful in a digital environment,” said James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, in announcing the deal. Al Jazeera has another take: Rupert Murdoch’s high-profile purchase of National Geographic — perhaps the most esteemed remaining icon of middlebrow American print culture — has touched off alarms over how the swashbuckling Australian press lord may visit a Fox News makeover on the science monthly…Murdoch’s acquisition of a 73 percent share of National Geographic — for a cool $725 million — is especially troubling to the cause of climate science, since the National Geographic Society (founded as a nonprofit foundation for exploration and research) administers a $1 billion grant program to research scientists.”

A case in point is Pepsi’s new limon flavor. The new flavor was made with the help of Adelante, an employee association at PepsiCo meant to “foster relationships with the Hispanic community,” according to Latinos Health. In order to get the taste right, Pepsi uses 2 percent real lime juice. For now, Pepsi Limon is available only in selected markets in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, as well as Chicago. We can only hope it spreads to the rest of us.

Don’t stereotype lifestyle or spending power

Carlos Garcia_GfkIn fact, marketers still struggle to create messaging that’s truly culturally relevant and nuanced enough to avoid stereotypes, according to Carlos Garcia, senior vice president of multicultural at GfK Media. And this goes beyond not plopping a Spanish icon into a commercial. There are more subtle stereotypes that can keep an ad from resonating.

Garcia told eMarketer that Hispanics are brand-loyal because they want to stick with what they know, so advertisers trying to win them away need to focus on a value proposition, not image advertising. He said, “Be specific. Why should I buy this product? It’s just as good and cheaper, it’s the same price but bigger, it’s better taste, it has more natural ingredients, it has aloe in it, it has more protein, it has something.”

Garcia also noted that, while the Hispanic population as a whole may have below-average household wealth, it is still a viable market for higher-priced goods. He said, “They organize their lives differently. They have different priorities. They are buying high-quality, high-cost electronics. They are buying houses. They are buying appliances. They are doing all these things that the sheer income numbers would suggest are impossible.”

Sweet new hub for Latinas

popsugar latinaSpeaking of mainstreaming, POPSUGAR Latina, a mobile-first hub within the fashion and lifestyle site, aims to better serve the 12 percent of traffic to the main site comprised of Hispanic women. The English-language site will skew the regular diet of celebrity gossip, fitness, fashion and recipes to Latinas. Anna Fieler, executive vice president of marketing at POPSUGAR, told CNBC, “Our intent is to deliver the content in English, focusing on content for the Latina who considers herself to be 100 percent American and 100 percent Latina.”

POPSUGAR has partnered with JCPenney as the sponsor of the launch. In the press release, Eileen Carty, EVP Brand Partnerships at POPSUGAR, said, “Latinas are the fastest growing market in the United States, and this young, family-oriented woman loves to shop and gather information and is connected with her smartphone at a faster rate than any other demographic.”

2016 election could see spending shift

Arturo VargasWhile political candidate have been used to reaching Latino voters via Spanish media, changing demographics may cause them to rethink their media plans for the next election. Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Los Angeles, told Aljazeera America that candidates must understand the diversity in language, culture and generations. In 2013, Latinos born in the U.S. made up 65 percent of Hispanic Americans. “[Candidates] need to understand that there isn’t a single Latino profile,” Vargas said.

Candidates shouldn’t simply translate campaigns into Spanish; they’ll need to craft Hispanic-centric messages. “The outreach is not about language,” said Felipe Benitez, the communications and development director for Mi Familia Vota, another voter advocacy group. “It’s not about Spanish or English. It’s about addressing the issues that really matter to our community and listening to our community.”

That could mean more intensive work on platforms and advertising, as well as more thoughtful media plan to reach acculturated Hispennials outside of traditional Hispanic media. Multicultural agencies should clarify their ability to understand this changing audience, while Spanish-language media may need to refine their pitches.

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