No segment of Comcast’s ad sales division is growing faster than its multicultural initiatives, and no advertisers are more responsible for that growth than those wanting to attract Hispanic viewers. Of course, Comcast isn’t exactly a bystander. Its launch of the CableLatino programming package, coupled with the licensing of Adlink’s Adtag and Adcopy targeting technologies and the implementation of Nielsen’s Hispanic-American Television Index (NHTI) service, have all goosed the MSO’s ad sales revenue, according to Sandra Weber, director of national sales for multicultural markets, Comcast Ad Sales. Weber launched AT&T Broadband’s Hispanic ad sales program two years ago, and the initiative has been expanded under Comcast to include other ethnic groups. Still, Hispanics are a big target for advertisers and Comcast can deliver them. Combined with AT&T Broadband’s footprint, Comcast now serves five of the top eight Hispanic markets. It also serves eight of the top ten African-American markets and seven of the top ten Asian markets. In all, the MSO’s service territory covers 52% of all ethnic cable households in the U.S. Hispanics are a red-hot demographic for advertisers. For one thing, the Hispanic population exploded 61% between 1990 and 2003 — going from 21.9 million to 35.3 million. That makes it the fastest-growing group in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Hispanic population is also expected to triple in size by 2050, reaching 24% of the total U.S. population, according to Strategy Research Corp. And their buying power continues to grow substantially. The Santiago Solutions Group reports that Hispanic purchasing power is expected to hit the $675 billion mark this year, $928 billion by 2007 and $1.2 trillion by 2010. So it’s little wonder that Comcast is allocating a significant amount of its resources to lure advertisers that want access to Latinos. Adlink’s Adtag and Adcopy technologies provide advertisers with customized targeting and segmentation capabilities; markets can be broken down geographically, demographically or psychographically so advertisers can target the right messages to the right audience. That’s important because a message that may resonate with one demographic group may fall flat with another, Weber says. The products are already in use in Los Angeles and New York, and Weber says advertisers in the automotive, beverage, retail, entertainment, political and food categories have found them to be valuable. “The products will allow us to break down our markets ethnically so advertisers can send out different messages to different ethnic groups,” she says. Adtag allows advertisers to run the same commercial throughout the same DMA, and tag it with individual dealer, franchise or store names that are specific to geographic locations within a market. The viewer sees the location of the nearest retailer. Adcopy enables advertisers to run different commercials simultaneously in specified subsections of the market. This allows specific targeting of audiences based on demographic or psychographic characteristics of people residing within those areas. Advertisers can tailor the mix of commercials to deliver a more targeted message without sacrificing the reach to build their brands across the entire market, Weber says. Comcast will launch the products in Chicago and Detroit this fall, with a national rollout planned for early next year. The operator’s CableLatino package was also designed to lure advertisers. CableLatino is delivered in analog, which means Comcast can inserts ads on those networks. The package is available in Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Fresno, Calif., Albuquerque, N.M., and now Baltimore. The package will be available to consumers in Philadelphia this month, according Mauro Panzera, who heads up Comcast’s multicultural marketing team. The programming package includes ten Spanish-language video channels, 40 music channels and a lifeline English-language slate of programming for around $20 a month. Research showed that Comcast lost Hispanic customers when they had to buy a bunch of other programming — expanded basic and digital basic — to get the Spanish-language networks they wanted to watch, Panzera says. CableLatino is an analog service, but customers who subscribe to it receive a digital box so they can take advantage of some of what digital has to offer, including video-on-demand. They can also subscribe to more expensive and expansive Spanish-language digital packages, he notes. Clearly, the more Spanish-language programming that becomes available on cable, the more attractive cable will be to Hispanic consumers, says Rosa Serrano, SVP, group account director/multicultural for Initiative Media, an Interpublic company. “Cable companies are making it easier to target Hispanic consumers,” Serrano says. “But they need to do more. Comcast is certainly leading the way when it comes to serving their multicultural viewers.” Much of the Spanish-language programming remains on digital tiers, and that complicates life a bit for Weber and her team. At this point, Comcast can’t insert ads on its digital tiers, meaning advertisers can’t reach many of the Hispanic viewers they’re aiming for. However, research shows that Hispanic viewers don’t spend all their time watching Spanish-language programming. Hispanics watch a wide range of programming in both English and Spanish, Weber says. “Hispanic viewership goes across all genres and languages. We found that viewers may watch Galavision one hour and switch to MTV or ESPN an hour later.” Other studies back up Comcast’s research. Cheskin, a Redwood Shores, Calif.-based market research firm, reports that Hispanics watch an average of four hours of television a day (2.5 hours in Spanish) and listen to the radio for three hours, 11 minutes every day (2.10 hours in Spanish). Nielsen Media Research didn’t break down viewing between English- and Spanish-language programming but found that Hispanic-American homes watched 8.2 hours a day of television programming in 1999-2000. Spanish-dominant homes watched a tad less, sitting in front of the tube 7.9 hours a day. Nielsen also determined that in 2001, there were 8.94 million Hispanic-American television households. Of those, only 4.55 million used Spanish as their dominant language. As a result, Comcast is now subscribing to the Nielsen Hispanic-American Television Index, a compilation of ratings information about Hispanic viewing habits. Comcast is using NHTI in its Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas markets. The MSO is the first non-Spanish-language broadcaster to subscribe to the service, Weber says, and it’s paying off. “Cable’s share in all Hispanic homes is almost the same as Spanish-language broadcast homes,” she says. “Our share in all Hispanic homes is between 25 and 35. The combined Spanish-language broadcast share is between 30 and 36.” Cable also has a 60 share of Hispanic viewers between the ages of 2 and 12, she says. That’s significant because family programming and content is highly valued in Hispanic homes. Family-related programming is probably the biggest draw for Hispanic consumers. The NHTI initiative is indicative of Comcast’s commitment to helping advertisers reach multicultural audiences, Weber says, including the 3 million Hispanic households within the MSO’s reach. Serrano agrees, but still notes that as a media buyer, she goes to Spanish-language broadcasters first when it comes to placing ads. “As they roll out services such as Adcopy and Adtag and provide us with information from Nielsen, we’ll certainly take advantage of them more often,” Serrano says. “But we are in the beginning stages of what will be available in the future. The off-air stations still get most of our attention, but that’s changing and will continue to change.” Weber is convinced the introduction of Adtag and the NHTI, among other moves, will reap big rewards for both Comcast and advertisers buying avails from the MSO. “The growth opportunity is significant, as we anticipate that the number of Hispanic households will continue to grow,” Weber says. “The Nielsen Hispanic-American Television Index will help us provide advertisers the capabilities of cable advertising and the potential to tap 80% of the Hispanic purchasing power that lives in cable households.” In Los Angeles, ratings estimates for Hispanics will be derived from Nielsen People Meters, which cull demographic and household data daily. Miami and Chicago have overnight capability in households. All four markets — Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas — have quarterly diaries with demographic breakdowns. In San Francisco and Dallas, data will be gathered only from diaries completed by randomly selected Hispanic homes. The NHTI’s viewing samples consist of both Spanish- and English-speaking Hispanic television homes and are separate from Nielsen’s general market samples in the same markets, Weber says. That’s vital to Comcast because research shows that Hispanics watch significant amounts of both English- and Spanish-language programming. The exact number varies depending on which studies are used, however. For instance, Nielsen reports that half of Hispanic-American households are thought to prefer watching programs in Spanish. Interpublic research shows that 40% of Spanish-language TV viewers also regularly watch English-language TV. According to the Hispanic Opinion Tracker 2001 poll, 74% of Hispanics watch Spanish-language television each week while 82% watch English-language shows. Hispanics’ buying habits tend to revolve around the family, Weber says. That means viewing habits follow a similar suit. As such, programming on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are among some of the highest-rated shows in Hispanic homes, she says. Over half (55%) of Hispanic-Americans subscribe to cable, according to Cheskin. But a recent Cable World/NBC poll found that only 46% of respondents subscribe to cable and that a disproportionate number of cable customers are located in the Northeast, skewing the average. The poll also found that as income rises, so does cable penetration. Comcast is telling advertisers that it can provide upscale Hispanics, kids, teens and men and women 18 to 34 and 18 to 49. Those demographics are important to advertisers. According to studies by Nielsen Media Research, one in five teens in the U.S. is of Hispanic descent. Between 1993 and 2001, the Hispanic teen population grew 30%, while the non-Hispanic population grew 8% during the same period. By 2020, the Hispanic teen population is expected to grow 62% compared to 10% growth in the number of teens overall. Ad spots are increasingly being crafted with messages in both English and Spanish that will resonate with Hispanics, Weber says. Long gone are the days when a spot is dubbed in English and Spanish with the same message. “We recently had an auto client who used spot cable on English-language networks to attract young Hispanic adults,” Weber says. “It was very successful for them.” It’s all about modifying the way multicultural marketing is approached, Weber notes. “We’re changing the paradigm,” she says. “We have more tools advertisers can now use to better target their audiences. With Adcopy, some advertisers may take the gamble on using Spanish-language ads on English-language networks because we can target Spanish-dominant homes that we know watch English-language programming. Things are changing. It used to be that ads aimed at Hispanics were always on Spanish-language networks. But not anymore.”

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