The U.S. is the fifth-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. The rate of Hispanic population growth in the U.S. exceeds that of the nation as a whole, and the growth in discretionary income is faster yet. Despite that, Hispanic advertising commands a relatively small slice, around 1 percent, of the total advertising enchilada. Spanish-language advertising, though moving slowly toward parity in terms of market share (dominated in dollars) relative to the Hispanic share of population, is one of the fastest-growing and most attractive market segments. Internet companies have discovered Spanish, with Yahoo!, America Online and Lycos offering service, and an outfit called StarMedia has attracted vast sums of venture capital to help it penetrate the Latino market throughout the Western Hemisphere. It was probably inevitable: A new entrant with no operating experience at all has jumped in to take a swing at the pi-ata. Quepasa.com, according to an SEC filing that values this history-less
company with a me-too idea at $90 million, wants to raise more than $40 million with which to put itself on the map. ÁBuena suerte! --Alan Gottesman (westendal pobox.com) is principal of West End Consulting.
THE GOTTESMAN FILE
The Spanish market--in the U.S. and elsewhere--is getting increasing
attention from media companies, especially new-media operators.
No. of Spanish speakers, worldwide 400 million
U.S. Hispanic population 29.6 million (11% of total U.S.)
U.S. Hispanic purchasing power $350 billion
Computer penetration in U.S. Hispanic households 30% (up 130% in 4 years)
U.S. Hispanic households with Internet access 15% (up 650% in 4 years)
Source: Quepasa.com SEC filings