Our VP Executive Producer in Spanish Media, Javier Robles, is an expert in the Latino media landscape. He has managed over 600 satellite media tours and produced for Telemundo and Univision, as well as working in stations across Miami.
Robles and I sat down in advance of July sweeps to try and answer some of the most difficult questions facing specialists in the Spanish media world: Why is it so hard to secure paid coverage, and how do the differences in the markets foster that?
One area of particular intrigue has to do with some of the variations that exist between markets, where certain Hispanic markets may seem slightly out of place—until you give some thought to the demographic makeup of the United States.
Take, for example, Nielsen’s 10th ranked Hispanic market: Harlingen, Weslaco, Brownsville, McAllen, Texas. That market is ranked 84th in the at-large US market, and the differences don’t stop there. New York and LA switch places in the top two spots, and the state of Texas finds itself particularly well-represented in the top 10 Hispanic or Latino markets.
While this information is interesting in its own right, it doesn’t seem to naturally cast any light on the lack of pay for play options—until you break things down a bit more. In Harlingsen, the population is a whopping 80 percent Hispanic, but some brief research shows there are two stations broadcasting to the area offering at least some Hispanic-language programming, in a DMA where 52 percent of the population speaks a non-English language first.
“For people trying to book general market tours, it’s easy to use the regular Nielsen ratings ad go after the major markets,” Robles said. “But when you’re looking at targeting the Hispanic market, you start to see some of these differences more clearly—compare the number of stations out there broadcasting in English, and then look at those in Spanish—there’s nearly no paid options because these places only have a few half-hour blocks to get out the news!”
Robles makes one of the most important points to anyone trying to understand the dissimilarities in media booking between these two demos—there’s a disparity in coverage. It seems a situation that should operate as an economy of scale, though as the Hispanic population in the US increases, coverage fails to catch up.
But where PR’s and marketers may fail to miss an even greater piece of insight is in the relative relation between the Spanish and English media markets. Robles said no client should discount, to return to our example, the 84th ranked US media market, because the vast majority of Spanish households are not only bilingual, but watch two types of TV–and one of them is English.
“Look it’s a mistake to look at Hispanics as people who are just speaking Spanish,” Robles said. “Clients booking an SMT shouldn’t be upset when they get a market that’s 84th in the Nielsen rankings, because they’re talking to an entire demographic with huge purchasing power, online influence and more–that should be considered a win!”
Robles told me there are so few stations that even offer paid options, and he said that beyond saving airtime for hard news coverage, station managers and producers may not grasp the nuanced differences between sponsored content or advertorials, and pieces of earned coverage—which could become murky in the eyes of someone trained in traditional objective journalism but with no exposure to the concept of Satellite Media Tours, or really any paid coverage.
The good news for savvy broadcast PR professionals looking to appeal to this massive market of consumers is that earned media is attainable—and, as we wrote recently, has ways of becoming next level coverage.
“That said, Hispanic Media placements are majority earned,” Robles told me, “so it’s important that you apply the 4T filter to your activation.” Of special consideration to Robles in those four “T’s” is the one that applies to talent. He said that a big part of appealing to a wider audience is finding a spokesperson who resonates with that audience.
“When I worked at Telemundo and Univision, I remember we would gear the majority of our content toward the Mexican population, and choosing talent needs to have the same consideration–pick a spokesperson your audience can really relate to,” Robles said.
Any brand that wants to get its message in front of a wider audience should not discount the Hispanic media market. It’s huge, it’s growing, and it has purchasing power. Despite the difficulty of securing paid coverage, earned coverage is attainable, and we know how to help you get it. Want to talk more? Reach out, we would love to help.