Market Profile: Dallas-Ft. Worth

NEW YORK As with other markets in the midst of a Hispanic population boom, Dallas-Ft. Worth has seen its established media outlets challenged by new competitors, each chasing after the young Mexicans pouring into the area.

The growth of the Latino population has been dramatic. About 1.2 million Hispanics were in the DMA in 2000, more than twice the figure from 10 years earlier and a fourfold jump from 1980, according to census data analyzed by SRC. Roughly 80 percent of these Latinos are of Mexican descent.

Moreover, the Hispanic population continues to grow and reshape the fourth most-populous metropolitan area.

There will be 2.1 million Hispanics by 2012, accounting for 28.5 percent of the population, predicts Boston-based forecasting firm Global Insight, and hold nearly $51 billion in buying power. (See chart, above right)

Univision dominates in Spanish-language television and radio, with Telemundo a solid No. 2 in TV. The Dallas-Ft. Worth media market is becoming more competitive, said Benjamin Aguirre, local media specialist for Tapestry, a division of SMG Multicultural.

“From a radio perspective, it’s pretty competitive. Univision still takes the lead with the most dominant station, but you also have Liberman competing for share,” he said, referring to Burbank, Calif.-based LBI Media.

The No. 1 Hispanic station in the market is Univision’s KESS “La Que Buena” 107.9 FM with morning DJ Eduardo “Piolín” Sotelo. It ranked No. 6 among all stations, based on listeners 12 years or older, with an average 3.6 rating in Winter 2007, according to Arbitron. That’s down 10 percent from Winter 2006.

KESS’ ratings have been sliding because of increased competition. Univision has three other FM stations in the market, reports BIA Financial Network, and one AM station, Spanish-talk KFLC “La Voz del Pueblo” 1270 AM.

Univision is fighting back with controversial syndicated morning DJ Luis Jiménez, who was picked up in February by KFZO “La Kalle” 99.1 FM. Still, Univision’s radio stations are facing increased competition from LBI, which last summer acquired five stations from Entravision, bringing its total to six.

LBI has flipped some of its stations to Mexican regional formats to tap into the area’s population. Several of its stations have seen dramatic ratings growth, including its top-rated and oldest, KNOR 93.7 FM, which had a 1.6 rating this past winter. LBI’s KBOC 98.3 FM ranked right behind it with a 1.5 rating. Both are trending up.

Clear Channel also has one Spanish-lang-uage station in the market, Spanish variety format KEGL “La Preciosa” 97.1 FM, which trailed only Univision’s KESS among Hispanic-targeted stations.

“These [stations] allow for a bit more selection, for options to partner with our clients, instead of only going with Univision,” Aguirre said.

The TV marketplace in Dallas-Ft. Worth is also becoming more competitive.

Univision KUVN, Channel 23, ranked No. 1 in prime time in the May sweeps with a 22.4 household rating, according to Nielsen Hispanic Station Index. Telemundo affiliate KXTX, Channel 39, was No. 2 with a 4.2 rating.

Univision’s TeleFutura outlet KSTR, Channel 49, ranked No. 4 among all stations with a 2.7 rating. Azteca America’s KODF, Channel 26, and LBI’s independent KMPX, Channel 29, tied for No. 9 with a 1.2 rating.

Meanwhile, LatinAmerica Broadcasting’s low-power LAT TV, KJJM Channel 34, launched in May 2006. It reaches about 88 percent of Hispanic neighborhoods. Plans call for wider distribution through a cable system.

“I’ve been in this market about 13 years and, at that time, it wasn’t nearly as competitive,” said Cipriano Robles, general sales manager of LAT TV in Dallas. “At some point in every business, there’s a point of maturation when it becomes crowded with a lot of players. Dallas is no exception.”

Most broadcasters program entirely in Spanish. About 46 percent of Latinos in Dallas-Ft. Worth prefer speaking Spanish, 24 percent higher than the average in the 25 largest Hispanic markets, according to Scarborough Research. But broadcasters are increasingly dabbling in English, including LAT TV, which launched as a strictly Spanish- language outlet, primarily serving Texas.

“As time goes by you really begin to listen to your audience,” said Patricia Torres-Burd, executive vice president of programming and branding at LAT TV. “Now we have a couple of shows, including Remix and Salsa TV, that include a mixture of English. Most of the young, hip 18-to-24 demographic is bilingual.”

Some 59 percent of the adult Latino population in Dallas-Ft. Worth is younger than 35 years old, according to Scarborough, 17 percent higher than average.

Meanwhile, advertisers are catching up with the area’s population growth. Expenditures were just under $78 million last year, far less than comparably sized markets such as Houston, according to Hispanic Business. Advertisers spent $38.7 million on Spanish-language TV, according to the magazine’s research.

“So far we see that Univision and Telemundo still dominate the market,” said Tapestry’s Aguirre. “The newer stations will take some time before they tailor their programming mix for the audience. It’s great we’re getting new people in the market because it gives us more choices.”

Advertisers spent another $30.3 million on radio while print trailed far behind, at $8.7 million, according to Hispanic Business.

There are nearly two dozen Hispanic-targeted publications in Dallas, seven of which are audited, according to the Latino Print Network. The audited newspapers include the most widely distributed, the weekly La Subasta de Dallas, and the Dallas Morning News’ daily Al Día and Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s weekly Diario La Estrella.

Hispanic print, like other media in the market, is highly competitive but still falls short of ad revenue.

Lupita Colmenero, co-founder of the weekly El Hispano News and former president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications, said print vehicles in the area are finding new ways to secure more national brands, while attracting more local advertisers.

She expects an increase as the growing Latino population becomes better educated.

“There’s a movement I see where a lot more people are attending seminars about starting a business,” Colmenero said. “It’s becoming a more educated community.”

And that, she noted, represents future advertising opportunities.