Despite the general downward trend in the consumption of television in the United States, the Hispanic population is watching more and more programming in Spanish, something that is attracting the attention of advertisers, who are trying to tailor their products and messages to those potential customers.

At least that is what the president of New York-based broadcast monitoring service Critical Mention, Dave Armon, says. He is currently in Miami to participate in Hispanicize 2012, the country's largest conference of Hispanic bloggers, a gathering that is also being attended by entertainment, communications and advertising professionals.

"Consumption of television among Spanish-speakers is clearly above the national average and, what is more noteworthy, while in the population as a whole the audience is tending to decline, among (this group) it's increasing," he said on Wednesday.

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In an interview with Efe, he said that television continues to be the most common method of getting access to current news for 66 percent of the U.S. population, down from 82 percent in 2002.

"In contrast, among Spanish-speakers the consumption has not stopped growing. There is a generalized perception that they consume mainly soap operas and reality shows, but that's just part of the reality because they also consume a lot of content related to news," Armon said.

He added that there are more and more companies who are asking for data on the TV-watching habits of the Hispanic population and are following attentively the number of mentions of their brands in Spanish-language media.

In print media, he said that while among the bulk of the U.S. population TV consumption is falling quickly and the English-language media "are really doing badly," Hispanic media outlets are managing to get through the crisis relatively well, although it's true that their viewership "numbers are also falling."

"The number of dailies in Spanish is staying stable and the declines in issue sales are slight, much less than the average," said Armon, who is convinced that the Spanish media sector has great growth potential.

By way of example, he cited the case of Univision, "by far the largest television network in Spanish in this country" and which continues to grow, such that "its audience rates are at the level of competing with the three big television networks in English, ABC, CBS and NBC."

Armon recalled that 75 percent of the Hispanic population still lives in just nine states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Texas, but he noted that, according to the Pew Research Center, that percentage in 2000 was 81 percent.

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"We're seeing enormous increases in the Hispanic population in Seattle, Philadelphia, Portland and North Carolina, places that the average American wouldn't associate with Spanish-speaking markets," he emphasized.

In the face of these changes, "the companies, brands, advertisers and sponsors are starting to be very up to date," he said.

In his opinion, "you just have to look at the drawing capacity of Hispanicize, where there can easily be 1,000 professionals with interests in this market, among them big U.S. companies."

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