Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mexican Horror and the Latin Market

In an informative and thorough old interview on Cinephelia.com, Michael Liuzza, one of the persons behind CasaNegra, responded to the question of how many Spanish speaking households have acquired CasaNegra's DVDs.

"We have not been able to fully assess that yet mainly because we have not yet fully targeted the Latin and or Mexican American consumer directly. You really have to know what you are doing with that. Marketing to that demographic is a bit different then marketing to the other consumers. While the Latin consumer in America is slowly getting in the with the rest of the mix they still shop at their own stores and stick closely to their own culture so a grass roots effort is extremely important here. We do have plans to market directly but it takes some time to put together the right plan for the right venues and since we are not Latin ourselves it's a bit of a learning process for us. But again, we are confident there is a substantial number of Latin consumers who will appreciate what we are doing."

According to a USA Today online article:

• The U.S. Hispanic market, some 50 million people, is the second-largest in the world, trailing only Mexico.

• Hispanic consumers have one of the largest disposable incomes of any minority group, and the U.S. Census Bureau predicts 29% growth in the Hispanic population in the next eight years, vs. 9% generally.

The tapping of the Hispanic market may be crucial to the success of Mexican horror on DVD. It's clear from the Liuzza interview that CasaNegra did not actively go after this market. Would it have mattered in the final tally?

Difficult to say, because I'm convinced that most of the U.S. Hispanic market is not that interested in old horror films from Mexico, but (depending on how much was spent beforehand) it only takes about 5000 DVD units sold to make a DVD successful. Of course, budget dollars would be necessary to invest in advertising to the Hispanic market, and the advertising would have to catchy and have the power to create a healthy consumer base. In all likelihood someone with a thorough knowledge of the Hispanic market would have to be hired to craft such an advertising campaign. As stated on SmartMoney.com:

With Hispanics rapidly becoming the largest minority group in this country and increasingly wielding buying clout, everyone from Fortune 500 corporations to television stations to sports stadiums are waking up to this growing consumer market. But business owners whose roots are in places like Mexico or Latin America or Puerto Rico are discovering a new-found advantage: With deep knowledge of Latin culture and united by the Spanish language, they inherently know best how to reach Hispanic customers.

Whenever I go to a NYC DVD store that has a substantial Latin section for Spanish customers, I see tons of cartel, ranchero and India Maria films. Is there no room for Mexican horror films? With English subtitles, please.