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comScore Bows Hispanic Web Measurement Service

Continuing efforts by Internet marketers to capitalize on the growing Hispanic presence on the Web, comScore Networks unveiled a new service designed to better measure the demographic online.

Reston, Va.-based comScore said its Media Metrix division's new Hispanic Services would provide marketers with more detailed information for marketing to the online Hispanic/Latino community. Based on a representative panel of 50,000 Hispanic and Latino Internet users in the U.S., the company's Hispanic Services database tracks online buying, Web surfing and use of proprietary systems like AOL Time Warner's America Online.

comScore said it recruits for the panel in both English and Spanish, and that it accurately represents monolingual and bilingual segments, as well as bilingual Web surfers that prefer one language over the other.

The company said it plans to begin offering the service during fourth quarter. Once it does, the service will include information national and local markets such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, and Chicago.

Charter clients for the service include Terra Networks , Yahoo! en Espanol, America Online, and Spanish-language daily La Opinion, as well as agencies including WPP Group's The Bravo Group, Bcom3's Tapestry, Media 8 Digital Marketing, and Communita.

"The development of our new service recognizes the importance of the Hispanic market as one of the fastest growing online segments," said Richard Israel, vice president of comScore Networks' Hispanic Marketing Solutions. "We're confident that this new offering will deliver unprecedented value to comScore clients, and become the currency for Hispanic marketing on the Web."

The news comes as the latest indication of the growing importance to marketers of U.S.-based, Spanish-speaking Hispanics and Latinos. While representing less than 5 percent of the population according to the latest U.S. Census figures, the demographic represents one of the fastest-growing and largest media-consuming groups on the Internet.

Earlier this year, comScore charted a 19 percent growth among U.S. Hispanic Internet users -- more than three times the growth rate of non-Hispanic demographics. As a result, the segment comprises about 11 percent of the total U.S. online population, an increase from about 9.9 percent in the prior year.

At the time, comScore also found that while fewer U.S. Hispanic Internet users made online purchases during a given month -- with 8 percent making a purchase, versus 10 percent of non-Hispanic Web users -- they buyers spent 7 percent more, or $15 more, than the average non-Hispanic e-commerce shopper.

Last year, the Pew Internet & American Life Project also found that while Hispanic/Latino consumers are more likely than any other ethnic group to have browsed the Web for fun, listened to music online, downloaded music, played online games, looked for information about books and movies and sampled audio and video clips.

Such trends aren't being ignored by marketers. Late last year, America Online announced a joint promotional effort with Univision Communications, which will see Dulles, Va.-based America Online providing Internet applications in exchange for greater Spanish-language online content and ads on Univision's TV networks.

In recent months, the U.S. Navy and General Motors also struck similar arrangements to promote themselves to Hispanic/Latino audiences.