NetRatings Debuts Hispanic Web Measurement Service

NetRatings announced Tuesday the availability of its syndicated Hispanic Web measurement service, in a further sign that online marketers want to reach the top U.S. minority group.

NetRatings’ new Hispanic measurement panel will consist of 3,600 self-identified Hispanic Internet users selected through random digit dialing (RDD). NetRatings will measure all manner of online activity for the group, providing a snapshot of the online habits of the 37 million Hispanics in the United States. The panel will also be folded into the Nielsen//NetRatings’ U.S. Internet panel.

“This is an acknowledgment of the growth of the Hispanic market,” said Jed Meyer, senior vice president of business development at Nielsen//NetRatings. “It’s critical that this market has high quality research.”

The company recruited its panel by phone, in both English and Spanish. The pool is segmented five ways: Spanish only, Spanish dominant, bilingual, English only, and English dominant.

NetRatings’ Hispanic service will compete with a measurement panel unveiled by rival comScore Networks last October. The two companies use different methodologies for their panels, with each claiming to get a more accurate picture of a demographic.

ComScore points out its panel has more users, 50,000, while NetRatings calls its service “the first media-quality” panel because it uses RDD methodology. Meyer said this approach was in line with how other media is measured, making it more scientifically valid.

“There’s no comparison,” he said. “Our approach will stand the test of time.”

(Representatives for comScore were unavailable for comment.)

Hispanic media juggernaut Univision is the first client for the NetRatings service, signing a five-year deal for Hispanic online consumer behavior.

Univision, which operates the most popular Spanish-language television network in the United States, has the most-visited Spanish-language U.S. site, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

The surging popularity of Hispanic media has helped lift Univision’s online arm, which in 2002 added 70 advertisers and grew advertising revenues 92 percent.

ComScore’s Hispanic service has signed on charter clients Terra Networks, AOL en Espanol, and Spanish-language daily La Opinion.

Marketers have long seen the Hispanic market as a largely untapped opportunity. More attention has been focused on the demographic since the Census Bureau released population estimates in January that showed for the first time Hispanics outnumbering blacks in the United States. Hispanic consumers are estimated to have a combined annual purchasing power of $450 billion, according to DRI/McGraw Hill.

While Hispanics’ Internet use lags behind the overall population, they are increasingly getting online. ComScore reported that 12.4 million U.S. Hispanics has Internet access from home, work or school in January — far outnumbering the online populations of Spanish-speaking countries.

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