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Outreach, VOD Help Attract Hispanic Subscribers

3/10/2006 7:00 PM Eastern

San Antonio doesn’t garner the same amount of attention as flashier Hispanic markets like Los Angeles or Miami. Yet, according to Jeff Henry, Time Warner Cable’s regional vice president for Texas, “Over time, other cities in the United States will start to look more like San Antonio.”

By that, Henry means more cities will become majority Hispanic, with a mix of Latin-American immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos. Henry is also hoping that Time Warner Cable’s success in San Antonio will be duplicated elsewhere.

Subscriber growth in San Antonio, where the population is more than 60% Hispanic, was among the highest in the country for any of the firm’s service areas.

Henry, who spent the last three years as the vice president of marketing for San Antonio before being promoted last December to lead the company’s statewide marketing efforts, said, “We have to attribute that to a lot of the work we did for the Spanish and bilingual customers.”

Work that included community outreach, culturally relevant programming decisions and an emphasis on video on demand.

“We do more than 200 events a year and we have a full-time promotions staff [participating] in all kinds of community gatherings throughout the year [in order] to have more face-to-face connections with potential and existing customers,” said Henry. “We think it is critically important with a Spanish-speaking audience.”

But the local Latino population is not exclusively Spanish-speaking. Many Hispanic residents have lived in San Antonio for several generations and prefer to speak English. In keeping with that preference, San Antonio is one of the few markets where the English-language, Latino-themed mun2 is available on basic cable. So, for that matter, are a number of Spanish-language channels, including Azteca America, the U.S. offshoot of Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, which Henry said “took off like a skyrocket.”

“We’ve come down to where a number of the homes have a need for both English and Spanish programming,” he said. “We try to make sure all our packages have a mix and in our marketing and outreach … we do bilingual.”

Beyond language, Henry has found that Hispanic subscribers are drawn to specific services such as video on demand. San Antonio consistently ranks among the top three Time Warner markets in adopting a range of new services.

“You have to understand each of your audience customer types and how best to communicate to them,” said Henry. “If you do a good job of outreach, you can be very successful with a Spanish audience.”

 

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