Without better market research on Hispanic consumers, the various news media that serve the Hispanic market will not be able to gain a representative share of the country's advertising dollars, according to media industry executives.
The recession has focused new attention on specialty markets such as that served by Spanish-language media. However, that has not translated into substantial increases in advertising revenues.
"When the general market is doing so badly, advertisers look elsewhere to see where you can make up the difference; so the specialty markets have this new recognition," says Carlos Ramirez, publisher of El Diario-La Prensa in New York, the nation's oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper.
"Unfortunately there is not enough research to reinforce to the general market how well the specialty markets are doing," he says.
Spanish-language television stations have had a long-running feud with A.C. Nielsen, complaining that its audience measurement systems did not accurately gauge the Hispanic audience.
Arbitron Co. has also faced attacks recently about its measurement of the number of listeners of minority-oriented radio stations.
Spanish-language newspapers have a similar complaint about market research firms, Mr. Ramirez says.
"These guys have small samples," he says. "They say this represents the Hispanic community. Well, the distortion is outrageous. Somewhere along the line someone is going to make a lot of money by establishing a solid Hispanic market research firm."