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Major Hispanic online publishers joined to convince advertisers of the value of their audience, formally launching a committee under the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The committee, informally formed last summer but officially launched Monday, is co-chaired by Hector Orci, CEO of La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, and Peter Blacker, vice president of international and U.S. Hispanic interactive marketing at America Online. Other founding members include representatives of comScore Networks, La Opinion Digital, MSN Latino, Nielsen//NetRatings, Terra Lycos, Univision, StarMedia and Yahoo! en español.

The importance of the U.S. Hispanic audience has grown in the minds of publishers and advertisers since the 2000 Census, when surveyors found the Hispanic population had surged by 13 million in the previous ten years. Last year, Census Bureau officials dubbed Hispanics as the nation’s largest minority group. With numbers like that, marketers are beginning to take notice, and Hispanic Internet publishers want to ensure they get a piece of the pie.

“The Internet is fast becoming one of the best channels to reach the Hispanic consumer,” said Orci.

As its inaugural effort, the committee has put together a wide-ranging pack of statistics, along with a PowerPoint presentation, aimed at pushing their collective message.

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