Over the past few months, two media companies (CNN and NBC) had two major failures in the Latino space. CNN and NBC shut down their media initiatives covering and serving U.S. Latinos.
Within the same time frame, two Latino-focused startups, Hispanicize and LSA, showcased some major successes. They’re targeting the same market and with infinitely less resources they’ve been exponentially more successful.
Why the giants are failing and how the underdogs are winning will make you think twice about the power of this market and how to approach it.
There’s one thing that is important to understand. This is not by any means a reflection on the market or the journalists that worked for them. It is rather a reminder that the news business is evolving at every level and for every demographic. This is especially true when you are targeting Latinos, a demographic that is leapfrogging desktop in favor of mobile.
Let’s look at the giants’ failures first.
NBC and CNN hurried to join the flock into the Latino space. They joined Fox News, Fusion and UnoTV, an Internet-only TV channel back by Carlos Slim’s CARSO Group. NBC and CNN offered a lackluster and poorly designed experience from the start and within the first year of operations they were shut down.
NBC and CNN Latino were destined to failure due to a lack of commitment to the idea. They were the ugly stepchild at the newsroom and to add insult to injury, they were playing within the sandbox of a dying media business model.
The news business is evolving to be real-time, highly collaborative and relevant and the CNN and NBC Latino initiatives were anything but cutting edge.
There is a very interesting post-mortem in BuzzFeed by an ex-staffer. It reads as a love letter to the tireless and penny-less journalist covering the poor and forgotten. I liked the prose but the analysis left much to be desired. We need critical views instead of romanticized story-telling. One thing the author has going for him is that he had the good sense to have go work for a thriving media company where his journalistic voice gets amplified exponentially.
Now let’s look at the underdogs.
These startups are attacking the same demographic and they are having much more success with a different and refreshing approach. Two of the best examples are Hispanicize and LSA (Latino Startup Alliance).
Hispanicize is a technology and marketing conference that has grown exponentially over the past few years. They have been able to secure big brands as committed sponsors including Google, Toyota, P&G, 3M and more.
Thousands of people attend the conference every year.
Hispanicize is lead by Manny Ruiz who built and sold Hispanic Wire prior to starting this conference. He has the drive, the experience and the passion to make things happen.
Then we have LSA or Latino Startup Alliance. LSA is a highly efficient grassroots networking organization that connects top Latino innovators in the U.S. and abroad. LSA’s founders are more about actions than words. LSA is lead by Jesse Martinez, a veteran of the technology startup community in the Silicon Valley.
LSA and Hispanicize are lead by tireless entrepreneurs that look at the Latino community not as a token word to accompany a well-known brand, but as thriving and growing community that is part of a multicultural country and not a subset of it and they treat it as such.