Almost one in four Latinos connected to urban-market cable operators take digital services, according to the latest Horowitz Associates Inc. study.
Of 500 Latino citizens surveyed for Focus: Latino III, part of an ongoing series of reports from the Larchmont, N.Y.-based researcher on the state of multicultural cable, 24% subscribe to a digital service. Also, one out of every 10 urban-market Latino respondents complement their cable with direct-broadcast-satellite subscriptions.
Separately, Horowitz estimated that 26% of all urban cable subscribers are digital users. The Focus
survey was conducted this past spring, based on phone interviews with more than 2,200 urban-based respondents. Findings from the entire sample universe will be released in a report published later this fall or early 2004.
For Horowitz, the results solidify a belief that multicultural audiences are cable's most valuable customers. What's more, those customers are the most willing to connect not only with digital, but all the advanced services the industry is staking its future on, according to Adriana Waterston, Horowitz's marketing director.
"Latinos are very much in the mainstream of digital and high-speed Internet usage. They are consuming those products on par with the rest of us," she said. "Operators need to realize they have an important base to work on through adding ethnic services.
"There's more potential that can be maxed out. Unfortunately, there's no element of surprise over competition here. [Direct broadcast satellite] recognized this situation a long time ago."
About 30% of urban Latino cable subscribers who prefer speaking English most of the time take digital, compared with 19% of Latinos who primarily speak Spanish, the study found.
Survey respondents were most interested in their local operators adding existing services Fox Sports en Español and mun2, while ESPN Deportes and SìTV topped the list of upcoming services participants wanted most.
Strong interest for video-on-demand, digital video recorders, home networking, interactive and HDTV services also came through in the survey. Among the participants, 29% of Latino cable/DBS users are willing to pay extra for a DVR, while 23% expressed interest in wireless home networking and 20% for subscription VOD services.
Focus: Latino III
won't be a barometer of how well MSOs are faring with their Latino tier campaigns. The survey was completed before most of those tier packages were launched, including Comcast Corp.'s company-wide rollout and efforts in key Latino markets by Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems Corp. "It will be interesting to see the impact these campaigns have on the results next time," Waterston said.
She praised NBC Cable Networks for taking Latino service promotion a step further its "Mas" outreach, which starts next week. "They recognize the diversity of this community and the campaign is well situated and comprehensive enough to reach all segments of the population, including the younger, bilingual audience," Waterston said.