Televisa…is that opportunity knocking?
Contrary to popular belief (or at least to my surprise), Mexico has the second-largest online population in Latin America, after Brazil, of course. With over 112 million people, 30 million are online. An average user in Mexico clocks 23.2 hours per month; this is more than the worldwide average. One word comes to mind… opportunity!
There is an amazing opportunity for companies in Mexico to embrace the digital platforms and to start developing online relationships with their audiences. So who are the online users? And, what are they doing online?
Internet users in Mexico are surprisingly young: 71 percent of Mexico’s online population is under the age of 34. And they are doing what you would expect multimedia, communicating, and social networking. According to a study by comScore (2009), Hi5 continues to be the social networking site preferred by Mexicans, although Facebook’s growth in Mexico outpaces its global growth by double. The study also suggests that Mexicans, like audiences worldwide, prefer to consume content in their native language. With “Facebook en Español” and with these growth rates, I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook becomes the number one Social Network in Mexico by 2011.
A study by MillwardBrown (2009) found that most Mexicans rely more on the Internet than on the TV to keep them updated with the latest information. Although the most popular websites in Mexico are based in the U.S, such as: MSN, Google and Yahoo; Televisa, was found to be the top local site. Televisa is a Mexican broadcasting conglomerate, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world and the second largest in Latin America, after Brazilian Organizações Globo. Its main competition is TV Azteca, which has been growing in popularity in the recent years.
I was a huge fan of Televisa’s telenovelas (soap operas) while I was growing up in Costa Rica. Interestingly, while I was doing research, I found that they have ushered in some key components to tap into Mexico’s growing online market. In February of this year, Televisa launched ForoTV, a 24/7 news channel that focuses on debate and analysis segments and uses social networks like Twitter and Facebook and its blog to interact with its viewers. The idea is to have the audience help mold the content of the programs. The channel also offers an online live-feed at forotv.com but it is only available to viewers in Mexico. Currently, Televisa’s ForoTV has 5,249 Facebook fans, 13,680 twitter followers, and 2 posts on their blog (they do not have a Hi5 account for ForoTV). Even though this is not a strong online presence for a TV channel that focuses on the online interaction with viewers, they still have the opportunity to grow and engage users.
So what should Televisa do to tap this new market?
If Televisa’s new channel is going to impress Mexicans in the social world, they are going to have to increase their presence on social media networks. Facebook is one of the largest social media networks in Mexico, so it’s a shame that they only have 5,249 fans, especially if you compare it with its strongest competition TV Azteca, which has more than 20,000. Although their presence on Twitter is strong and they already have over 13,000 followers it’s not enough to build a strong online conversation specially considering the population of the country and the popularity of the Televisa brand. What was surprising to me is that they didn’t even consider Hi5 to promote the online conversation for ForoTV, since Hi5 reaches 30.1 percent of the Mexican audience, 10 percent more than Facebook.
Second, they are going to have to dig deeper into social. Social media has consumers looking to engage, a great way to start a conversation is to vary content from just text. If Televisa wants to interact with viewers they need to engage and establish relationships, ask questions, encourage video bloggers to post their opinion, more importantly keep the conversations going. Promote the fact that this is a way for Mexican’s to voice their opinions about important matters that affect their country. Audiences will stop interacting if the company doesn’t offer what they promised. Blogs are a great place to start the conversation, but they need to start by getting the public to actually post. It would be useful to divide the blog into categories such as sports, politics, and entertainment, and then engage the audience by appealing to their self-interests.
Lastly, the Televisa brand has a strong presence in Latin America, they should take advantage of this opportunity and extend their live-feed of ForoTV.com to other Spanish-speaking countries and have this become an online channel that bases its content on a more global conversation. This will be a valuable way to engage all of Televisa’s viewers in Latin America and have them voice their opinions about worldwide issues.
Televisa is a great example of how company’s in Mexico can really take advantage of this growing online market, in order to engage and create lasting relationships with key publics.