Webcast Lures Mexican-American Viewers

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Heavy marketing to Mexicans in the United States for a Webcast of a Mexican presidential debate last month by Todito.com caused a sharp increase in unique visitors.


Todito, roughly translated as "everything," began Webcasting the Mexican television station that aired the debate, Azteca 13, around the clock in early April. In the first week of Webcasting, Todito drew 200 unique visitors to the special page, increasing to 400 the second week.


The debate took place during its third week of Webcasting on April 24. The site marketed the event in the United States one day before the debate with banner ads and through the press. The debate drew 7,598 unique visitors, mostly from the United States.


Several visitor polls and a chat with a Mexican political analyst were held before and after the event. Adrian Gonzalez, chief operating officer at Todito, Mexico City, said the debate was the first test to see how many American and Mexican viewers the site could reach with a simple marketing plan.


"We were very pleased with the results," he said. "Seventy percent of Latinos in the United States have a Mexican background and when they saw that we were doing this, they got the message that Todito means Mexican television on the Internet. We have an advantage because when they see Mexican soap stars, politicians and our sports teams, these people in North America are interested in it."


Azteca 13, one of two Mexican broadcast television networks, owns half of the site. The original owner of the site, e-commerce specialist DataFlux Corp., sold a 50 percent stake in the Internet venture to Azteca for what Gonzalez describes as "mostly an advertising package." To reach Mexicans, Todito gets regular promotions on Azteca 13.


"Many sites are spending tons of money in advertising and they will make no profit," said Gonzalez. "We are spending no money on advertising, and we have television, the most powerful medium, at our disposal. Television can draw as many as 10 million people in Mexico. That is far more than any other medium."


In coming weeks, Todito plans to begin adding news briefs from Azteca 13 in a special on-demand Webcasting section of the site, much like it and other sites do with text stories now.


"The three basic flagpoles of Todito.com are commerce, information and entertainment. Webcasting can provide for information and entertainment, and we are just now seeing how it can bring us commerce through advertising and TV-on-demand as well," Gonzalez said.


Todito launched in August of 1999 and draws an average of 120,000 unique visitors a day. Mexico has a population of 99 million, of which only 4 percent have PCs and 2.1 million are on the Internet. Nearly 195,000 people have free


e-mail through Todito.
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