By Meg James, Los Angeles Times (August 27, 2007)
After decades of being shunted to the sidelines, Spanish-language media outlets have now joined the big leagues of TV research.
Ratings giant Nielsen Media Research today plans to pull the plug on a separate service that it created 15 years ago to measure the size of Latino TV audiences. Latinos are now so important to the overall TV ratings picture that it would be misleading to relegate them to a separate system.
So Nielsen's sole source for national ratings will come from its influential "people meter" survey, which is produced daily from the TV program choices made by viewers in about 12,000 homes equipped with Nielsen set-top boxes. That panel includes about 1,400 Latino families.
"We've had to work real hard to get to where we are today," said Hector Orci, chairman of La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, a Los Angeles advertising firm. "Trying to get Nielsen to change its methodology is like moving a mountain -- a very big mountain. This move says that Latinos make up an important market that continues to grow."
Said Danielle Gonzales, managing director of Chicago-based Tapestry, a top agency that specializes in Latino media: "This is a turning point -- the television industry has acknowledged the strength of the Hispanic population."
The move to one system comes as major media companies and advertisers are eager to reach Latino consumers. There are more than 44 million Latinos living in the U.S., making up about 15% of the total population. Some studies have estimated the collective buying power of Latinos in the U.S. at more than $800 billion a year.
"We are approaching a critical mass of consciousness by the industry and marketers who have discovered the enormous economic buying power of Hispanics," said Don Browne, president of Telemundo, the Spanish-language network owned by NBC Universal. "They see who is moving through their stores and who is buying their products and services -- and it's increasingly Hispanics."
The history of the separate Hispanic Television Index that Nielsen is now scrapping shows just how much Spanish-language TV has evolved.
When it debuted in 1992, the system, which measured viewing by Latinos of both English- and Spanish-language programs, was considered groundbreaking for seeking to figure out what Latinos were watching.
Nielsen had created the special index after Spanish-language-network executives complained that ratings were artificially low because of a shortage of Spanish speakers in Nielsen's sample audience. Univision and Telemundo subsequently agreed to pay $40 million to help finance the creation of a separate system.
In 1992, Univision and Telemundo were the primary Spanish-language broadcast networks. Together they attracted an average 2.5 million viewers in prime time. That year, Spanish-language TV advertising revenues reached $220 million.
Last year, ad spending on Spanish-language TV topped $3 billion, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. There now are four major Spanish-language broadcasters, including Univision-owned TeleFutura and Azteca America, which is affiliated with Mexico's second-largest media firm, TV Azteca.
Big media companies also have embraced Spanish-language TV. Five years ago, General Electric Co.'s NBC spent $2.7 billion to buy Telemundo and its small cable channel, mun2. Others added cable channels that target Latinos, including such recognizable brands as Fox Sports en Espanol , Discovery en Espanol , CNN en Espanol and MTV Tr3s.
Doug Darfield, Nielsen's senior vice president for Hispanic services, said there were several reasons for having a separate survey. Nielsen's national people meter sample audience in the early 1990s was about a third of the size that it is today. And, at that time, Latinos made up a smaller slice of the U.S. population.
There were about 500 Latino homes in Nielsen's people meter audience, which was too small a number to provide accurate ratings for shows that ran on the Spanish-language networks, Darfield said.
"You needed a more robust sample size," he said. Nielsen's Hispanic Index was made up of 1,000 homes in which the head of the household was Latino.
Nielsen also encountered obstacles when it tried recruiting Latino families to join. Some people, including recent immigrants, were wary of letting the Nielsen representatives and their electronic equipment into their homes.
Ceril Shagrin, who designed and managed the system during her 27-year career at Nielsen, said the Hispanic survey immediately gave Spanish-language networks more credibility with advertisers. And over time, she said, Nielsen documented the growth of the Latino audience, which encouraged companies and advertisers to enter the market.
But, ultimately, the system became problematic.
There was no easy way to blend the data from the Hispanic Index with Nielsen's larger national people meter sample. Side-to-side comparisons didn't match up either. Estimates of viewership for Spanish-language programs produced from the two separate surveys often varied widely. That's because there were different families in the two panels that watched different shows.
"It was very difficult," Gonzales of Tapestry said. "Advertisers wanted to go after the total market, but the question was what to do with all of this different data. For some advertisers, it became too much trouble and they would tell us, 'We'll talk about it later.' "
There also were debates about whether Nielsen's sample was accurately representing the Latino population. Did the sample audience have too many or too few Spanish speakers?
Another big problem was that many of the most influential advertising buyers paid little attention to the increasingly big ratings of Spanish-language shows. Univision's and Telemundo's numbers, for example, did not show up in the overnight Nielsen ratings.
Instead, executives at boutique ad agencies monitored those ratings, and handled the buys for Spanish-language networks. More than five years ago, Univision began lobbying Nielsen to do away with the separate Hispanic survey.
By last year, Nielsen had increased the size of its people meter sample audience and the number of Latinos included. Univision and Telemundo began subscribing to that service. Ratings for Spanish-language networks were being reported along with those of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
Nielsen's Darfield said the move was made to provide the most accurate measurement.
"It reached a point that if you are not getting the Hispanics right, then you are not getting the rest of the population right either," Darfield said. "Hispanics are a significant part of the population, and that's particularly true in places like Los Angeles, where Hispanics make up so much of the population."
In the Los Angeles television market, the prime-time telenovelas that play on Univision's local station, KMEX-TV Channel 34, regularly out-rank the shows that run on the English-language networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
"It's made a huge difference. People now recognize the size of our audience and the loyalty of our viewers," Univision's Shagrin said. "Hispanics are part of mainstream America and they should be part of the mainstream measurement."
ARTICLE ONLINE HERE
HASTAC and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are mobilizing the field of Digital Media and Learning through a $2 million open call competition designed to support innovation and networking.
Application Deadline: October 15, 2007 (8 pm EDT, 5 pm PDT)
To learn more about the Competition, visit http://www.dmlcompetition.net
Following up on behalf of Senior Director of PBS Interactive, Angela Morgenstern, PBS is happy to announce eight (8) internship opportunities available within PBS Interactive for the fall 2007 semester. The intern roles range from technical to editorial to marketing, and are placed in the areas of PBS General Audiences, Education, Content Applications & Technology, Station Services, KIDS GO, Parents, and Teachers.
We would love to see some strong candidates at either the undergraduate or graduate level, and particularly want to ensure that we create an inclusive process for this entry-level opportunity. These are paid internships. Interns will earn a $2000 stipend (250 hours per semester, minimum of 16 hours per week) or school credit.
Students with educational backgrounds in computer science, education, journalism, communication, media, or marketing are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applicants should apply online at: http://www.pbs.org/aboutpbs/aboutpbs_jobs.html
If unable to submit an application through the web, we request students to send their resumes through the mail to:
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
AVAILABLE PBS INTERACTIVE INTERNSHIPS:
Position Title: Intern – Digital Development / Content Applications & Technology
Position Title: Intern – Content Applications & Technology
Department: PBS Interactive
Position Title: Intern – Content Applications and Technology
Department: Interactive and Education
Position Title: Intern – Education
Position Title: Intern – Interactive, General Audiences
Position Title: Intern- PBS KIDS Interactive
Department: PBS Kids Interactive
Position Title: Intern – PBS Parents
Department: PBS Parents
Position Title: Intern – Station Services
Department: PBS Interactive
The trailer for "Ladron Que Roba A Ladron" is now available for viewing on the Lionsgate website:
The film opens in theaters on August 31st!
* Free Films Every Wednesday in September 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26)
Media Arts Center San Diego's San Diego Latino Film Festival and Otay Ranch Town Center bring the best of short and feature family films from Mexico for all ages to enjoy this September at Que Viva! Cine Mexicano 2007. In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and Mexico's Independence, once per week for the entire month of September, Otay Ranch Town Center shoppers and residents of San Diego County will experience great Latino art, live music, and a collection of Mexican family features and shorts. Screenings and events will take place Wednesdays from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM September 5, 12, 19 and 26. All screenings, live music and art to take place at the Food Pavilion at Otay Ranch Town Center.
The schedule for each evening will include the following: 6:30PM - Arte Latino Exhibition local and nationally recognized Latino artists & Live Music of local Latino musical groups; and then, 7:30PM - Screening of Mexican short films or a Mexican feature film for the entire family. Feature and short films to be screened include: Atletico San Pancho, Jai, Tiro de Gracia, Al Otro Lado, Magos y Gigantes, Mi Radio, and many more!
All film screenings and events are free and open to the general public. Visit the Otay Ranch Town Center web site for more event information: www.otayranchtowncenter.com or visit Media Arts Center San Diego's San Diego Latino Film Festival website at: www.sdlatinofilm.com. Additional information can be found by calling Media Arts Center San Diego at 619-230-1938.
LAS MUJERES DE LA CAUCUS CHICANA
"Six Women. Ten Years. One Goal. Equality."
Film Release Party
September 1, 6-8PM
HOOVER LEPPEN THEATRE AT THE CENTER ON HALSTED
3656 N. HALSTED, CHICAGO ILLINOIS
Produced and directed by Linda Garcia Merchant
Featuring: Margaret Cruz, Andrea Rivera Cano, Ruth 'Rhea' Mojica Hammer, Martha Cotera,
Pauline Martinez and Lupe Anguiano
Length: 90 minutes
Contact information: Gaylon Alcaraz 312.330.5506
By Lorenza Muñoz
Los Angeles Times (August 28, 2007)
For nearly a decade, actress Salma Hayek and her production partner, Jos Tamez, have been trying to launch a mini-studio that caters to the Latino audience. They're finally getting some traction, thanks in part to the success of "Ugly Betty," the popular television show they produce for ABC that is based on a Colombian soap opera, "Yo Soy Betty, la Fea," and "Frida," the 2002 biography of artist Frida Kahlo in which Hayek also starred.
In April, the pair got another break when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. agreed to finance, market and distribute several Latin-themed movies under the label Ventanazul, a 50-50 venture with the studio. Hayek and Tamez said in a recent interview with The Times that they intended to make mainstream English-language films with talent from Latin America as well as the U.S.
Now comes the hard part.
Ventanazul wants to prove there's a large audience for films with Latin cultural references. Latinos already see more movies than any other ethnic group. But Hollywood for years has grappled with how to tap deeper into this niche.
This year marked a breakthrough for Latino filmmakers. Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarn and Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu each were nominated for Oscars for their films "Pan's Labyrinth," "Children of Men" and "Babel" and are now making a series of films together.
However, this summer's Latin-themed films have not set the world on fire. Universal's "Illegal Tender," a gangster drama directed by Franc. Reyes and produced by John Singleton, got off to a sluggish start last weekend. Jennifer Lopez's "El Cantante" did well in certain cities such as Miami and New York but has grossed a disappointing $6.8 million since its Aug. 3 release.
Previous attempts to reach Latinos with such films as "Chasing Papi" in 2003 and last year's "La Mujer de Mi Hermano" have also been disappointments.
Ventanazul's first release next year is expected to be an English-language adaptation of the Israeli coming-of-age film "Bonjour Monsieur Schlome." Colombian-born Rodrigo Garcia will direct the movie, tentatively titled "Diego Ascending."
Hayek, who is due to give birth any moment to her first child, said she would not be moving to Paris to join her fiance, Franois-Henri Pinault, head of fashion conglomerate PPR, which owns Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
Some excerpts from the interview with Hayek and Tamez:
Why aren't more studios taking chances with projects aimed at the Latino niche?
Hayek: Because, honestly, there have been a lot of failures. You want to be conservative because there is not a clear vision of what the market is exactly.
But you want everyone to go see your films, not just Latinos, right?
Hayek: Yes. They will feel proud they are represented as Latinos and at the same time [other] Americans won't feel alienated. The idea is to make movies that are a lot like "Betty" or "Frida."
Tamez: The big studio movies try to include one Latino, one African American or one Asian to try to attract that part of the audience. We want to make projects from the Latino world and present it to the whole audience.
Did you approach other studios such as Disney, which has benefited from "Ugly Betty" as the owner of ABC?
Hayek: We love working with Disney and we have movies with them. But MGM was very determined to do this deal. They were very aggressive about trying something new. Do you feel pressure to show that this can work?
Tamez: Yes. We are investing in this. If it works it will be good for us, but if it doesn't work. . .
Hayek: It's not like we have a salary. We really are partners and we are investing time and money in it. . . . But I believe there is really a market. I know it's there.
How has "Ugly Betty's" success helped you as producers?
Hayek: It has helped us a lot. A combination of that and "Frida." We haven't done a lot of things, but the things we have done have either been commercial or critical successes. Even the little tiny things we have done for Showtime. . . . We have been trying to get a Latin-themed show on television for six or seven years.
Yes, in 1999 you had several TV projects with Sony but none of them came to fruition. Why?
Hayek: We were with Sony and Telemundo and Sony sold Telemundo. And then Sony television shut down for a period of time. . . .. It's very difficult. . . . You need to have a high level of passion for the project, especially when they are experimental and in a market that has not been proven.
It's well known that Chief Executive Harry Sloan wants to double MGM's $5-billion value over the next few years and take the company public or sell it. Does that make you nervous considering your Sony experience?
Hayek: You have to take the opportunities when they are there and make the best of them. Hopefully, if they sell, we will have created a great asset for the company. . . . If they sell, that doesn't mean [our] company stops. We have certain protections.
Why do you think there hasn't been a U.S.-born Latin director to break out since Robert Rodriguez ["Grindhouse" and "Spy Kids"]?
Tamez: In Latin America even though it is difficult to make movies, usually they have a little more artistic freedom. I don't know that many of these wonderful movies that have come up from Latin America would have been done in the studio system.
Hayek: In Latin America the best talent goes to the festivals, have success in their countries and then they are tested in the American market. Here, it is harder for someone to get an opportunity. I think one of the biggest problems are scripts. . . What are the Latino stories that we want to tell? We are in the middle of what I believe is a redefinition of who we are. Something has been happening in the last few years. These [Mexican] directors have stood out with a different voice that has a level of sophistication. . . . It's a beautiful moment in history because we get to reinvent who we are. I think a lot of the secret is in having people accept that we have stories to tell and that they might not be able to anticipate what they are.
When you have your baby, are you going to stay in the U.S. or move to France?
Hayek: I'm going to stay and run this company. I had to make a choice. . . . I could just say I will give it all up and be a housewife in Paris. But I said, "No." I was so lucky because I found myself a man who is a great businessman. And he loves it that I work this hard. He has a lot of respect for what I do. . . . He knows how important this is to me. This is a mission. We have been working for this all our lives. It's a breakthrough, and in my lifetime, I want to see a change.
STORY ONLINE HERE
LA PAZ , a feature screenplay by NALIP Writers Lab fellows Tina Datsko de Sánchez and José Sánchez -H., has advanced to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2007 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. It is one of 254 entries out of 5050 to make the cut in this competition sponsored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
LA PAZ , a political thriller along the lines of Hotel Rwanda and The Constant Gardener, is based on actual events. A young doctor’s visit to his native Bolivia during the summer of 1980 is shattered by a brutal coup. Teaming up with his former girlfriend, a politically-involved journalist, in the search for the ‘disappeared’ priest who mentored them both, he steps into a dangerous web of drug barons and former Nazis.