Analysts predict Spanish-language networks will bring in slightly over one billion dollars in the upcoming upfront, the first time that these networks have gone over the one billion threshold. Univision shocked the ad marketplace last year when its upfront broke alongside the English-language networks'. Whereas Univision or Telemundo may have had 30 or more upfront advertisers in the late '90s, they now do business with upwards of 130.
Media professionals immersed in the Hispanic marketplace are particularly encouraged by the high penetration numbers of Hispanic Internet users. "Soon, the Internet will become just another appliance everyone has," says Lopez. Statistics from Mediamark Research show that nearly 53 percent of U.S. Hispanics are now actively online. "Twelve percent of Hispanics' weekly media consumption is on the Internet," remarks Liz Sarachek, executive director of sales for Yahoo! U.S. Hispanic. "The Internet is a vital medium that all advertisers should have in their media toolbox if they want to effectively reach the Hispanic consumer."
Companies such as State Farm Insurance, U.S. Army, and Kraft have been on the forefront of advertising online to the Hispanic community. "They have obviously the most experience as to what is working, and are leading the way before their competition starts clamoring in," explains Sarachek.
Hispanics' close ties to their families and their communities abroad is evident in the popularity of email and instant messaging. Hispanics also tend to turn to the Internet for information on entertainment, music, and sports.
Research shows that there are a large number of advertisers who are not yet part of the Spanish-language market, which clearly suggests the potential for explosive growth in the future. "We are not even halfway there," says Ronald H. Furman, executive vice president/sales and marketing at Univision Communications. "There still remains an enormous opportunity for growth."