January 21, 2001

Cheskin conducted its latest study on the Digital World of the US Hispanic during October and November of 2000, thus having comparative data between the first and fourth quarters of the year. The fourth quarter of the year 2000 wave was a national telephone sample of 2,257 US Hispanics 18 years of age and older who reported data about themselves and their household.

Hispanic portals, like all players in the Internet and overall digital economy, have felt the slowdown of the marketplace. Many have become casualties of the "group think" that has characterized the recent US market by creating a sense of uncertainty. Unfortunately, many players that could otherwise have done well are seeing their prospects diminished. What is the most current state of affairs?

We asked US Hispanic consumers who use the Internet: "I'm going to read you a list of Internet services. Please tell me which of the following you use? Please answer yes or no to each." The following chart illustrates the relative use of Hispanic portals:

Univision.com comes as major surprise claiming 16% use after having been online only since August of 2000. It can be assumed that a portion of that share is likely due to the prevalence and recognition of the brand name. Still, this shows that a Hispanic brand can grow fast if it has the right backing. Terra also experienced strong growth in 2000 after their launch in January of that year.

QuePasa did not grow in 2000 but still maintained a robust share of use. Unfortunately QuePasa is currently liquidating assets.

Latino grew substantially since its launch in February of 2000. But due to the current economic slowdown this organization has dramatically reduced its staff and has asked users to pay a fee.

Español grew quite a bit , but they are now out of the scene.

StarMedia and Yupi grew moderately in the year 2000. Yupi, however, has now laid off about half of its staff. ElSitio did not experience much change in the US in 2000 along with StarMedia it is reported they are making progress in Latin America. ElSitio has become part of the Claxson group.

The winners in the new order of things are likely to include Univision.com and Terra because of their firm infrastructure, backing, and understanding of the US Hispanic market.

StarMedia and ElSitio are also likely to succeed over time for similar reasons, although their US penetration may be slower.

What consumers have repeatedly told us in qualitative research is that they are not aware of the choices of Hispanic portals that exist. That seems to be the most important obstacle for many Hispanic sites that could be quite relevant and appealing to the culture. One of the issues that must continue to be addressed by these players is how to differentiate themselves and offer a unique service. Loquesea.com is an example of a portal that has targeted a very specific niche and appears to be making strides in the right direction.

Digital World of the US Hispanic at http://www.cheskin.com/think/thinking.html

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