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Study: Spanish-Language Web use Growing by U.S. Hispanics/Latinos

U.S.-based Hispanics/Latinos are more likely to use the Web in Spanish than English, according to recent findings by the Roslow Hispanic Internet Usage Study.

The study, conducted last quarter, found that Hispanic/Latino Internet users are spending 55 percent of their time online using the Web in Spanish, versus 45 percent in English. That figure represents a marked changed from just six months earlier, when Hispanics/Latinos -- about half of whom are bilingual -- were viewing Spanish-language sites only 30 percent of the time.

The study also found that among Latinos/Hispanics of 16 years of age and older, half are using the Internet. According to the findings, average U.S. Hispanic users are approximately 30 years old, and only 2 percent more likely to be male. About 78 percent of U.S. Hispanic users have computers at home.

The typical U.S. Hispanic/Latino user spends an average of 58 minutes online per session across all sites visited per month. Seventy-five percent of Internet users in the demographic use the Internet for e-mail, while 61 percent use the Web for research and 48 percent use it for news.

Miami, Fl.-based YupiMSN, a joint venture of Telefonos de Mexico and Microsoft Corp. ranked highest among Spanish-language Web portals for U.S.-based Latinos/Hispanics, the study found.

"The online U.S. Hispanic market is a powerful one and has come of age," said Peter Roslow, chief executive of Roslow Research. "As players such as Microsoft recognize the potential of the Spanish-language media market and offer their products in Spanish through YupiMSN, it is no surprise that usage incidence keeps growing and that Hispanics are spending more and more time online in Spanish rather than English."

Avenue A Losses Above Estimates

Seattle-based interactive agency and technology firm Avenue A posted results above analysts' estimates, joining several firms' whose most recent quarters have outperformed expectations.

Avenue A posted revenues of $24.4 million, leading to a pro forma net loss of $2 million, or $0.04 per share. Thomson Financial/First Call estimates placed the firm at a $0.07 per share pro forma loss. On a net basis, the firm posted losses of $4.5 million, or $0.08 per share.

Despite the optimism, losses were wider than last quarter, when the firm saw pro forma losses of $2.8 million, or $0.05 per share, on $20.4 million in revenue. On a net basis, Avenue A lost $6.5 million, or $0.11 per share during third quarter.

For full-year 2001 results, Avenue A posted a pro forma loss of $19.9 million, or $0.35 per share. (The Street anticipated wider losses of $0.38 per share.) Net losses totaled $40 million, or $0.70 per share. Last year, the company posted pro forma losses of $15.3 million, or $0.31 per share, and a net loss of $42.9 million, equivalent to $0.86 per share.

Executives said holiday ad spending provided a boost to fourth-quarter revenues, which, combined with "strict cost controls, ... resulted in a fourth quarter that exceeded our expectations," according to president and chief executive Brian McAndrews.

During the quarter, the company continued the rollout of its new Atlas DMT Digital Marketing Suite, an agency- and advertiser-focused offering that combines ad serving with media planning and optimization tools. The firm said the unit had 15 customers by the quarter's end, and it had opened divisions in New York and San Francisco to better serve those clients.

America Online Continues Britney Effort

AOL Time Warner's interactive division America Online plans to promote songstress-turned-starlet Britney Spears' upcoming movie with a contest, available on its Internet properties.

To be eligible, fans must register on America Online, or AOL-owned Web properties Netscape.com and CompuServe, or instant messaging services ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger. The winner will nab an opportunity to be flown to the VIP premier screening of Spears' "Crossroads" at the Mann Chinese Theater in Los Angeles next week.

On Feb. 11, America Online, Netscape, CompuServe, ICQ and AIM will offer live Webcasts of the premier. America Online also will showcase exclusive photos of Spears and an exclusive Valentine's Day interview.

In addition to registering for the contest, visitors will have the chance to purchase a custom t-shirts (designed by Spears and her boyfriend, *Nsync crooner Justin Timberlake) two weeks before they go on sale to the general public. A portion of the proceeds from the sale go to benefit Spears' and Timberlake's foundations.

The move continues AOL Time Warner's efforts to reach out toward the youth market through wide promotion of teen stars through its various properties. Last month, the New York-based media conglomerate announced promotional deals with *Nsync and television and movie actors the Olsen Twins. In October, AOL closed a marketing agreement with the pop princess herself.