According to a study conducted by eMarketer, 23 million Hispanics who live in the US (52% of the entire Latino population) are Internet users and their numbers will grow to almost 30 million by the year 2012. On the other hand there are over 125 million Spanish-speaking Internet users based in 21 countries in the Americas and Europe. At the same time the number of broadband access points in Latin America will reach 30 million in the next 4 years: if we add the Spanish-speaking broadband users residing in Latin America, the US and Spain, the number will exceed 60 million by the year 2012.
If we consider that approximately 80% of Internet users watch video online and that this percentage will grow to 88% by 2012, it is evident that the Spanish-speaking "niche" target is pretty big and therefore very appealing both for the producers of online video content, for the publishers and for the brands.
The Spanish-speaking population is not completely monolithic: the cultural relevancy for different groups differs to a certain extent. In the US, for instance, almost 60% of the Latinos are of Mexican origin while there are big communities of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Venezuelan, Argentinean and so on. Some of the cultural references are different from one community to the next but they all share the same language and most of the same values. Similarly in Latin America countries such as Argentina and Mexico are substantially different both culturally and sociologically but their populations consume similar types of TV and video contents like telenovelas, movies, music videos and reality shows.
The opportunity for a online video portal capable of offering professionally produced content in Spanish is indeed gigantic: while in the English-speaking arena there are many competitors fighting for the audience, the Spanish-speaking market is still reasonably virgin. Sites like Youtube offer some videos in Spanish but they are not designed to be culturally relevant while generalist portals such as Terra o Starmedia dedicate to video content just a fraction of their space and attention. There is room for a consistent and solid growth of a few well constructed video portals.
The video content in Spanish has an additional advantage in comparison to the English counterpart: it could be efficiently produced in countries with very low production costs and excellent structures such as Argentina, Costa Rica or Mexico: countries with reliable technical resources, experienced crewmembers, an incredible variety of locations and good talent. This is extremely important to properly monetize the content and make it profitable. For one of our portals in Spanish we cost-effectively produced a wide array of content in Miami, Mexico City, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) and we are planning to start producing also in Spain and other countries of the region. Resources can be easily moved from one place to another optimizing the production value. When we shoot in Costa Rica, for instance, we can fly some equipments from Miami, use a scriptwriter based in Mexico and talent from Argentina.
The business model for a video portal in Spanish is based on revenue from advertising and therefore the sponsorship is the key issue in the monetization of the content. Since the audience is spread out in 21 different countries, the commercialization poses several challenges. Even if many brands, like P&G, General Motors, Whirlpool, Toyota or Coca Cola operate at a global level, they very rarely have a unique marketing budget for the totality of the Spanish-speaking countries. Moreover, many brands have Latin America divided into several zones such as Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Andine Pact and South America, everyone with their own managements and budgets. Therefore, on one hand, a video portal in Spanish should be able to deliver ads according to the IP in order to target specific countries or regions and, on the other, should operate globally and coordinate the different marketing regions of a client offering them the distribution of the same or different executions according to the location, their objectives and their targets.
Video portals should also belong to companies with a very multidisciplinary structure capable of creating, producing and distributing video content and of generating a significant audience. The process should be efficiently coordinated: the scriptwriters for instance, and the SEO specialist should work together from the very beginning creating extremely optimized content. This process should also include marketing people capable of working with the sponsors in order to create and execute relevant branded content and to attract viewers. To achieve this goal, a wide spectrum of techniques has to be used: SEO, syndication, seeding, PR, social media marketing, newswires and so on. For a typical series of webisodes we seed the content in over 60 video-sharing sites, create pages and groups in dozens of social networking sites, send out digital press releases using a newswire service and the social media press release template, share the videos with relevant bloggers and syndicate some key webisodes on portals in all Spanish-speaking countries. We also help the virility effect adding to every video embedding and book marking functions in order to make the content more ubiquitous and generate more impressions.
Martinotti, M. (2008, September 4). The Opportunities of Online Video in Spanish – A Niche Market of Over 125 Million Users. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from
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