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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Getting the Latino vote

A word of advice to broadband providers: ethnicity is good business.

An interesting study came out today. Latinos in the U.S. prefer DSL over cable by a 3-to-1 margin, according to market research firm Horowitz Associates.

Why Latinos prefer DSL wasn't answered in this study. But this is the first study on broadband and ethnicity that I've stumbled upon since I started covering the industry more than a year ago.

This study interested me because big media companies have steadily changed their entertainment investments towards ethnic groups. Who would've thought a movie about a Korean and an Indian stoner looking for a munchie fix in the badlands of New Jersey would be picked up by a major studio like Time Warner's New Line Cinema. (Side note: John Cho's, who plays Harold, was brilliant as Phil Quon in "Down to Earth, starting Chris Rock).

Back to my point. This study shows that ethnicity matters, especially in the cut-throat world of broadband. Now that cable growth is slowing and DSL is trying to maintain its pace, subscriber growth, and the inevitable phase of subscriber defection, means reaching out and understanding your consumers.

Latinos represent the fastest growing minority in the U.S., according to census data. In July 2003, the Latino population reached 39.9 million, or one half of the 9.4 million new residents added to the population since 2000. That's a growth rate of 13 percent, compared to the national average of 3.3 percent.

The Latino identity is a complicated one, but unified by a common language. Credit outlets like ESPN Deportes for tapping a worthy market in its programming.

Perhaps broadband providers can also look to segments of our diverse population to keep their numbers growing.