News Column

Spanish-language TV Market Tightens

Dec 4 2000 3:34PM

December 2000 - Spanish-language television is still dominated by Univision, but main challenger Telemundo has shifted programming strategies and boosted its Nielsen share by a whopping 80 percent, claiming 27 percent of the Spanish-language audience compared to 15 percent last year.

Univision has announced a 26 percent increase in spot rates on a 10 percent increase in spot volume, as well as a 2-for-1 common stock split. Henry Cisneros has resigned as president and COO, his duties being assumed by CEO and chairman Jerrold Perenchio for the near term. Net revenues for the six months ending June 30 were up 32 percent over the same period last year, according to company financials.

Telemundo posted a 79 percent increase in national spot revenues, most of which the network feels is due to expanded audience share and strong growth in the national Spanish-language spot market.

Telemundo's climb is linked to its return to novelas (see "Ratings Rebound," July/August). Telemundo's alliances with Latin American TV producers such as Brazil's Globo have introduced U.S. Hispanic audiences to quality novelas such as the well-received historical drama Xica. The network also has acquired the Spanish-language cable source GEMS. It remains to be seen whether GEMS, now focused on Hispanic women's programming, will be developed to counter Univision's strong cable arm Galavision.

Univision has had difficulties with Televisa, its major supplier of novelas; many of its much-touted new offerings arrived late or not at all. Although the novela is not in any danger of losing its central place on either network, Univision has placed more emphasis on Sabado Gigante, sports, talk shows, and a new crop of game shows.

Both networks are grappling with the question of how best to address the growing Hispanic teen and young adult markets. About half of this group is bicultural and bilingual and watches both Spanish- and English-language television. As the Spanish-dominant group proceeds along the path of acculturation, Spanish-language television likely will face stiffer competition from general media.

There is no likelihood, however, that the audience for Spanish-language television will decline any time soon. According to a study by Starcom Video, a division of the Leo Burnett ad agency, advertisers will continue to pursue the Hispanic market through Spanish-language television as well as general-market media.

Packing More Purchasing Power
The year 2000 saw continued steady growth for Hispanic purchasing power in line with the overall increase in the Hispanic population. U.S. Hispanic purchasing power grew by about 4 percent to more than $282 billion and is projected to grow to more than $520 billion over the next 20 years, assuming continued rising educational levels and a strong national economy.

Since these numbers are almost certainly too conservative, real purchasing power probably will grow even faster than projections indicate. HISPANIC BUSINESS purchasing power estimates are based in part on per capita income estimates as compiled by the U.S. Bureau of the Census annual household surveys. Alternative estimates, such as those provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, may include capital gains, saved income, and non-cash benefits. The estimates cited here include only income as defined by the Bureau of the Census, actually spent in personal consumption and excluding saved income, interest payments, and other transfer-type payments.

Source: Hispanic Business magazine

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