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Tickers in this Article: TV, MCD, WYE, WAG
Capturing the minds, hearts and consumer dollars of the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population requires media players to convey an understanding of the cultural nuances behind the buying habits of Latin Americans. By taking a look at the Spanish language Televisa (NYSE:TV) network along with consumer product providers currently spending part of their advertising budget for airtime during telenovelas (serial soap operas) on the privately held Univision network, investors can get an idea of how to tailor their exposure to Latin American Media.

Huge Market
Mexico
's Spanish language media company Groupo Televisa provides quality content in the form of television programming, radio broadcasts, film, print and other media mediums. Groupo Televisa may be best known for it successful distribution of its immensely popular telenovelas like "Cuidado con el Angel" and "El Nombre del Amor". Televisa supplies Univision, the leading U.S. Spanish language programming network, with a large portion of its programming, and it also exports additional programming via licensing agreements to over 60 countries around the world. Apparently native Spanish speakers aren't the only ones riding the end of their sofas in anticipation of the next scene of their favorite passion filled telenovela. Televisa reported record third quarter revenue of 12,459 million pesos ($919.5 million) for the period ending September 30. Its Television Broadcasting segment led the increase in revenues.

Televisa heads back to court on January 6 in hopes of wrestling away royalty payments from privately held media giant Univision. An eventual win by Televisa could lead to higher rates for its content on Univision, but numerous delays have slowed down the final settlement of the lawsuit.

Univision Ad Count Observation
Now that Univision is a privately held company, another avenue investors could explore to participate in the growth of Latin American media is to pay attention to the advertising done on the networks during the highly coveted telenovelas. For example, I watched an episode of hit telenovela "Apuesta por un Amor" for research purposes only (honest!), and by my count: McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) ran two ads; Wyeth's (NYSE:WYE) Robitussin featured its cough medicine working its healing powers once, and Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) also ran one ad reminding viewers of their ability to take care of their healthcare needs. This sort of informal research will give you an idea of which companies are tapping into the growing Spanish language market. These companies could be well positioned to capture consumer dollars in the future.

Final Thoughts
Latinos are expected to continue to account for the majority of population growth in the U.S., and according to a May U.S. Census bureau estimate Latinos already represent 15.1% of the U.S. population or 45 million people. Latin American media players are positioning themselves to capture the estimated $1 trillion of U.S. consumer spending expected from the Latino market by 2010. The current economic outlook may put a damper on these projections, but the spending power of the Latino market and the desire of advertisers to turn their brand names into household staples via various media channels remains a positive theme beyond 2009.

Learn more about memorable advertising, in our related article Advertising, Crocodiles, And Moats.

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