BY ANDY CHECO
Account Manager, The Vidal Partnership

Andy Checo

With Nielsen Co. reporting that Univision surpassed all the major English-language networks in ratings for viewers between 18 and 49 years old for the week ending on September 5, it may be easy to conclude that this a step forward for the market.  In the past few years marketers have been scaling back on their Hispanic spend, moving away from original Hispanic PR programs and leveraging anything that can superficially have a Hispanic take.

The challenges of Hispanic PR Professionals

Gone are the days of significantly supporting Hispanic specific non-profit organizations (unless you are one of the big three marketers can’t afford not to support: NCLR, USHCC or LULAC) and leveraging top Hispanic celebrities to carry your message.

So you may think that this milestone is a great thing; a reality call for marketers to understand that yes, they can reach an even larger audience through a Hispanic network, but not so fast.  We all know that the Univision is a very important outlet to get PR messages out to the targeted audience, however, the network has also traditionally been hard to crack for PR professionals looking for placements on their client’s initiatives. The network anti-brand mention policies makes every PR professional put their creativity to the upmost use in order to get any kind of branding in. Thinking about a celebrity? Make sure is one related to the network, and even then you will encounter challenges.  Just don’t let this stop you from pitching, there is always a chance, it is just smaller here.

Univision’s Online Achievements and Is There a Change of Mind?

Univision has been a pioneer on getting US Hispanics online; their portal is today one of the top portals for US Hispanics and Latin Americans alike. Every TV online mention drives back to Univision.com, which had become “the gates” to the Internet for most US Hispanics until social media came along and the network realized that the masses where spending more time there. Now even the network is driving traffic to their Facebook and Tweeter pages, something that would have been unthinkable a few years back. Oh, the power of social media.

So is this a step forward for Hispanic PR?

Hardly, I’ll consider a step forward when English language networks continue to expand their Hispanic relevant programming and their Hispanic viewership surpasses that of non-Hispanics.   I’ll consider this a step forward when the Hispanic PR industry expand their outreach to GM outlets and when GM outlets start considering placement of Hispanic PR content.

With this said, I would like to congratulate the network on their achievement of engaging Spanish dominant US Hispanics with their programming and the potential of increasing marketer’s spend on Spanish-language TV advertising.

Andy Checo is the moderator of #hprchat, author of the blog andycheco.com and an account manager, public relations at The Vidal Partnership.