Rio Grande: Rich with Mexican shoppers
They cross the border to local retailers and fast food restaurants
May 10, 2016
Nielsen’s Rio Grande TV DMA covers the towns of Harlingen, Brownsville and McAllen in Texas. It’s a diary market, ranking No. 86 for the 2015-16 season with 363,410 TV households.
That’s not a lot of people, but it is the No. 10 Hispanic market in the U.S. and audiences swell by more than a third when Mexican viewers are added. Watching TV from the homes across the border, they come in to do their shopping on a regular basis.
That makes TV and radio advertising very attractive to local businesses in the Rio Grande area. Advertisers can target people on both sides of the border.
“We operate in a unique market that includes an international border line and where Mexican nationals cross one of a dozen international bridges to shop, visit family and friends or do business, among others — so Telemundo 40’s local newscasts deliver news and information that is relevant to viewers along both sides of the U.S./Mexico border,” says Jose Flores, general manager of local Telemundo station KTLM.
A recent Nielsen study quantified the value of that foot traffic by surveying residents of Reynosa, which lies across the border from McAllen, and Matamoros, which is across the border from Brownsville.
More than 3.5 million of them cross the border each year.
Nielsen found local TV impressions in the area grow 38 percent to 271,600 when Mexico’s audiences are included, while weekly reach grows 83 percent to 1.30 million when Mexican viewers are added.
Frequent visitors average 48 trips across the border per year, or almost once a week.
It’s little wonder fast food is a top category for local TV stations. They have a receptive audience. Nielsen found 72 percent of Mexican adults visit fast food restaurants at least once a month, including 23 percent that do so at least once a week.
With so many Mexican viewers, the Spanish-language TV stations perform well in the Rio Grande area.
For example, Telemundo’s local 10 p.m. newscast, “Noticias Telemundo 40,” was the most-watched in the market among viewers 18-49 and 25-54 in February, regardless of language, the first time it has accomplished that feat.
On weeknights the newscast averaged a 6.7 local rating among 18-49s and a 7.4 among 25-54s.
“KTLM’s weather forecasts report the weather conditions for South Texas and Northern Mexico. Additionally, our newscasts also deliver information about bridge waiting times and the Mexican peso exchange,” says Flores, who notes 40 percent of local retail sales come from Mexican nationals.
Spanish-language outlets dominate local radio as well. In fact, six of the market’s top 10 stations during the fall 2015 ratings period had a Spanish-language format, including three Regional Mexican stations, one Spanish variety station, one Tejano station and one Spanish contemporary hits station.
The McAllen-Brownsville radio market ranks a bit higher than it does on the TV side, No. 56 among radio DMAs.
Like TV, the local radio audience grows significantly when the sizable Mexican audience is included.
According to the Nielsen study, the average number of radio listeners grows 52 percent to 80,000 with Mexicans included, while average weekly reach grows 87 percent to 1.02 million.
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