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PSAs Seek to Push Hispanics to the Polls

5/02/2016 8:00 AM Eastern

“It’s hardly noticeable ma’am, like our Hispanic voter turnout,” fictional presidential adviser Ben Cafferty (Kevin Dunn) tells fictional president Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in this season’s premiere of HBO’s Veep when Meyer obsesses over a blemish on her face. While the joke is Meyer’s blemish was quite obvious, there’s a bigger truth underneath: Hispanics don’t turn out to vote as much as any candidate hoping for them to would like.


A 2014 Pew Research Center study said the rising U.S. Hispanic population means they represent more than 11% of all eligible voters, at 27 million, with more than 50,000 U.S. Latinos turning 18 each month. But the Hispanic voter-turnout rate in 2010 was just 31.2%, compared with 44% for black voters and 48.6% of white voters, Pew said.


Spanish-language programmers are trying hard to encourage more of their viewers to vote, through news shows and by creating public-service ads, most recently by HITN-TV. On April 25 and 30, the first two of a planned seven PSAs from HITN, each about two minutes long, aired, leading off a campaign called Tu Momento (Your Moment) 2016. They feature Gerson Borrero, the network’s lead political commentator and a well-known presence in New York City for his segments on Time Warner Cable’s NY1, in which he debates Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.


“We thought it was the right time because it’s getting down to basically two candidates” in the presidential race, HITN general manager Eric Turpin told The Wire.


The first segment — produced in Ultra HD with a black-clad Borrero against the stark white backdrop of backdrop of Temple House, a former synagogue in Miami Beach — dealt with the primaries. Others will address the electoral process, delegates and super delegates, the registration process, the conventions and what happens on Election Day. Turpin said one reason Hispanics are reluctant to vote is because the process can be complicated. These spots are meant to be evergreen and usable in future elections. HITN, in 42 million homes on most major pay TV providers, is pitching distributors to use the spots, as well.


Other Spanish-language programmers also are actively trying to mobilize Latinos to register and vote:


Univision in February launched “Vote for Your America,” a campaign that includes a digital election guide developed with other Univision-affiliate networks including Fusion and El Rey Network; get-out-the-vote PSAs; bilingual text messaging; and hundreds of events, including voter registration drives, town halls and viewer call centers.

NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo’s #YODECIDO (I Decide) initiative includes PSAs and voter registration drives via “Rinconcito Road Rally Truck and Pop-Ups” that will tour the country, with the first popup taking place on Oct. 17 at the People en Español Festival in New York. Telemundo has also partnered with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, creating an internship program and hosting conferences in New York to help frame the national conversation on the importance of the Latino vote in the presidential election.

• The nonprofit organization Voto Latino is working with several programmers. Through that, Fuse in March kicked off “Crash the Parties,” a search for two aspiring, millennial Latino reporters to cover the Democratic and Republican National Conventions for the network. Submissions are being accepted through May 15 at

Azteca created a series of PSAs, called “Atrévete,” encouraging Spanish- speaking voters to “dare” friends and family to join them in getting involved in the election. They feature network talent including the hosts of Al Extremo, Verónica del Castillo, Juan Barragán and Gaby Crassus.


Go Ahead and Trust the Kids


The Wire received a release touting high viewership and recall of an ad that ran on the Music Choice video-on-demand network. Interesting, but not surprising.


What was a surprise was that the ad, for an unnamed but well-known toy brand, was aimed at 6-to-11-yearold girls — and the research firm Ipsos surveyed 450 of them nationwide. That sounded challenging.


Not so, Ipsos vice president, U.S., Thomas Spinelli said. Parents are involved, of course, and survey questions are asked via a cartoon avatar.


“Youth research is surprisingly reliable,” Spinelli said, and Ipsos has a lot of experience with youth market research.


Some of the results: respondents were more likely to have recalled the ad — which was the same ad shown on broadcast TV and VOD — if they saw it on VOD and TV: 52% vs. 30% that saw it on TV only. The TV-VOD combination also was more likely to lead to actions, such as talking about the product with their parents or searching for the toy online.


“The people watching VOD are a more engaged audience,” Spinelli said, and also a captive one. “It just adds to your cumulative impressions.”


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