News Column

A Conversation With The Man Behind MySpace Latino

May 20, 2008

Richard Kaplan--HispanicBusiness.com

MySpace Latino was recently unveiled officially

MySpace Latino, released in a trial version one year ago, was officially unveiled on April 11, 2008 in a new format. HispanicBusiness.com talked about the new offering with Manny Miravete, vice-president for News Corporation's Fox Interactive Media and the man in charge of building MySpace Latino's audience and corporate relationships. Mr. Miravete, born in Mexico and raised in the United States, came to Fox from previous work on AOL Latino and StarMedia Network. At AOL, he managed corporate partnerships, including media sponsorships, advertising integration, and cross-platform solutions within AOL brands. Here, Mr. Miravete discusses his vision for the MySpace Latino.

What Is MySpace Latino's potential audience?

On the MySpace Latino side, we've been in beta for a year. Despite not promoting the product, we've seen a growth of nearly a 100,000 profiles per month. That's really explosive. So, I don't know what to expect with the launch. Starting today, we are featured on the MySpace homepage. That homepage gets 70 million unique users a month.

Currently, MySpace Latino has 1.3 million registered, and MySpace has about 9.5 million. When you put them together, the total Hispanic audience we are reaching is almost 11 million.

What are your target demographics?

It's young, upwardly mobile Hispanics. However, the value proposition, aside from the extensive reach and targeting we offer, is basically the engagement. The engagement numbers on MySpace are phenomenal. The Hispanic audience is very passionate about self-identity, so they spend a lot more time than their general market counterparts customizing their [personal profile pages].
For an advertiser to have someone that engaged in a product and have the messaging available there in the format of videos, ad banners, sponsorships, skins or rich media executions is a really high value.

Is a key feature Of MySpace Latino its channels or communities?

Our goal with this product was to provide something that was culturally relevant for the Hispanic audience. We wanted to take the passion points of Hispanics and create something unique. What we are doing is taking eight, new communities and putting them out in the market. There's going to be four that have music angles to them, one that has an entertainment angle, one that is a city guide, and one -- TodoFutbol -- is all about soccer.

You've partnered with major Hispanic media corporations, including Spanish Broadcast System (SBS), ImpreMedia, Billboard En Espanol, and Mega TV. What role will they play in MySpace Latino?

MySpace Latino is setting trends. The way we've structured these partnerships . . . is very unique and beneficial. For example, ImpreMedia, which is pretty much the biggest owner of Spanish-language publications, is going to be powering our soccer content. From all their publications, they provide us with rich content and art, and then people are going to be able to create their own sports page and read the information they want because the information is being fed in real time.

Unlike the beta version of MySpace Latino, in our new design much of the content will be bilingual. We have a toggle feature that says "Espanol or English," and you click on that and get the information [in the language you desire]. It's a very cool thing now the bilingual movement within the market. People really appreciate not being pigeonholed in one product. ... We know they like to engage in content both in English and in Spanish, if it's culturally relevant, if it makes sense.

But how will advertisers relate to these communities?

Let's go to another community for example. Let's talk about Enterate, our entertainment community. SBS provides us the top five gossip stories of the day. People will be able to see them on the community. Now, there is a widget that you can install on your profile. The next time you sign onto MySpace, the first thing that you see, after new friends and mail, is the top five entertainment stories that are constantly being updated. The advertiser can be very present right within the entertainment community. They can have branding within it. They can have branding on the photo gallery. But in addition, they can have a high level of integration on the actual widget. So beyond any standard media buy, they are going to get this viral component. People will be taking this widget and putting it on their profile. Then, their friends are going to put it on their profile. It's the momentum effect that's the really cool thing about MySpace. And it's not really something you can guarantee, but when it does happen, it's a very cool way for the advertiser to engage the user outside of traditional of like in-your-face advertising.

How are advertisers responding?

Very positively. With this launch, we have three charter sponsors -- Sprint, Toyota, and McDonald's. They all are going to be part of a specific community. For example McDonald's and Sprint are going to be part of our community called Get Your Band Sponsored [in which band compete in as part of a nationwide search for up and coming acts]. MySpace happens to have nearly 110,000 groups that have identified their genre of music as Latino/Hispanic. Our sponsors are going to be there on the forefront of breaking these new bands. Our audience is going to be engaged; they are going to be voting; they are going to be at the showcases where these bands are playing and being judged. On the McDonalds's side, there are specific initiatives. For example, they are associating this with their dollar menu "high value at a good price." So what's better than associating with free music, cool artists, and breaking bands?



Source: HispanicBusiness.com (c) 2008. All rights reserved.


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