Dish, AT&T amp ad spending for Hispanic online audience, but are they on target?

Samantha Bookman, FierceOnlineVideoThis week, we take a look at one of the fastest-growing audience segments in online video, Hispanic viewers. This segment is becoming a powerhouse in the U.S. population, with overall spending power of $1.5 trillion--up from $1 trillion in 2010, according to numerous sources. And they're some of the most enthusiastic consumers of over-the-top video.

Advertisers have been well aware of the opportunity placed in front of them for more than a few years now. But it's not clear that they've been very successful grabbing the attention of the Hispanic demographic.

As we point out in our feature, Procter & Gamble, that purveyor of all things family-friendly, is the biggest spender on advertising to Hispanics, putting $335 million into campaigns specifically for this demographic in 2013. Other companies spent much less, with AT&T devoting under $125 million to Hispanic advertising and Dish Network spending $96.9 million. T-Mobile US dropped its spending in this area by 10 percent to $98 million.

However, in online advertising, AT&T achieved the most raw ad impressions on Latino-focused sites, at 1.89 million for the year, with P&G in second place with 1.33 million impressions. One could look at those results in more than a couple of ways: smartphones are very popular among Hispanics, and AT&T's online advertising may have appealed to them more than P&G's ads. AT&T may also have targeted its ads toward U.S. Hispanic culture, with the result that online, the carrier got a better return for the amount of money it spent.

Unfortunately, that's a whole lot of "maybes" being put forth. What analysts and research firms do know is that Hispanics skew younger than the average U.S. population, that they are very technologically savvy, and that they stream more online video than almost any other group in the U.S.

Horowitz Hispanic SVOD

Weekly streaming among U.S. viewers age 18+. (Source: Horowitz Research, Jan. 2015)

A Horowitz Associates study released in January found that Hispanics are much more likely than the average U.S. viewer to watch online video on services other than the big three SVOD players, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus. They're 16 percent more likely than the average U.S. population to utilize free streaming services, and 9 percent more likely to use a TV Everywhere-type of app.  

Further, they've rapidly adopted multiscreen platforms: Three out of 10 Hispanic viewers surveyed by Horowitz said they prefer watching video on a smaller screen even when a TV was available, and 37 percent said they'll often watch something on a smaller device when someone else in the room is watching another screen, such as a TV.

With that level of enthusiasm for online video, and growing economic clout, it's interesting that few large-scale OTT options have emerged for the Hispanic audience. There is certainly some TV Everywhere available such as Univision's viewing app, and at least one breakout YouTube multichannel network, but the Hispanic viewer still has to search to find content he or she wants to watch online.

In our latest feature we take a look at some of the numbers around Hispanic viewing, and explore the challenge of reaching this diverse segment with meaningful advertising and online content.--Sam