Fox Sports En Espanol Says Mobile Sponsorships Lift Results

Researchers have long been telling advertisers that American Latinos use mobile technology in higher percentages and for a greater range of purposes than the general market. Now, as the prospects for the advertising market grow dimmer, one media company says those stats are proving true, and providing a rare bit of good news in an otherwise dreary environment.

Paul Laureano, senior manager of integrated sales and marketing for Fox Sports En Espanol, said the Spanish-language offshoot of Fox Sports has “exceeded current digital budget on the integrated side at 160 percent for 2008,” largely on the success of several mobile initiatives. Laureano did not provide dollar figures, so it is unclear how ambitious the network was in setting the objectives it has exceeded. But he pointed to several successful sponsorships that resonated with the networks’ Latino audience.

For example, Ford Motor Company bought exclusive rights to Fox Sports En Espanol’s Friday Night Fight Block for an eight-week period earlier this year, during which registered viewers received text questions 90 minutes before each fight. The texts asked the recipient to predict something about the fight — Who would win the second round? Who would land the most punches? — and one winner would be posted on Fox’s site and win a boxing related prize.

The original text asking the question contained Ford branding, as did the text users would receive confirming their answers had been received. The contest was promoted on the Web site as well as in promos on the TV station.

Fox is also running a 52-week promotion called Copa Sabelotodo, which translates into the “Know-It-All Cup.” Registered users receive trivia questions by text every Tuesday night about the South American soccer tournament Copa Sudamericana. Each right answer earns the user 10 points, and prizes are awarded based on different levels of points attained.

The Copa promotion has attracted a host of big-name sponsors so far, including Bud Light, Toyota, Sprint and Sears. Again, the texts asking the questions and confirming receipt of the answers include branding from the sponsor.

Laureano said Fox Sports En Espanol placed a huge emphasis on mobile sponsorships in the run-up to its upfront several years ago, which explains its current success attracting advertisers to its promotions. “We held a scavenger hunt where the [media buyers] would download a clue and text it to so-and-so and download a video. We got out in front with mobile and we’ve benefited from that, and are trying to live up to that.”

Laureano said the network has a direct sales staff of about seven.

There are at least half a dozen studies from the past few years showing that Latinos in America far outpace the general market in their use of mobile phones. A recent study from comScore said that 71 percent of Hispanics access mobile content compared to 48 percent of the general market. “Hispanics are actively watching mobile videos, they are more inclined to access news and information via mobile browsers, and play games more than the general market,” the study said.

Got it. Those numbers represent the percentage of hispanics who download media on their mobile phones vs the general market. these numbers back that up: Telephia’s Q2 2007 Mobile Hispanic Report also stated that, “Hispanic Americans are the fastest-growing and youngest US mobile segment, with the highest average revenue per user of any demographic group.”

“For an immigrant, [mobile devices] are a great way to buy something for $100 or whatever and be able to keep in touch,” said Laureano. “Not everybody has a computer — Latino penetration is at 50 percent for home computer use, and the general market is in the 80s. It’s easier to own a cell phone than a computer system.”

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Fox Sports En Espanol as Fox En Espanol.

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