Latino TV: A Large Shift in US Markets and Abroad


This past year, Telemundo had a 22 rating share compared to Univision’s 78, with growth among adults 18 to 49. Universal CEO Bob Wright is not focused on beating Univision. Wright said, “Telemundo takes in 30 percent of ad dollars spent in the Hispanic broadcast market – and his goal, for now, is a modest increase to 40 percent or 45 percent.” However, he feels that the Latino market still does not get the advertiser interest it deserves.

In time, the sheer numbers in the Spanish-language markets will drive the future of access, interest, and advertising.Comcast has continued to grow their market share due to shifts such as this.

Randy Falco, Univision CEO and a critic of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger claims, “You’ve already heard that the new Comcast will be the dominant cable and high-speed broadband provider in markets with 30% of all U.S. cable households. What you may not know is that the new Comcast will serve markets with 91% of all Hispanic households and be the top TV distributor in 19 out of the top 20 Hispanic markets.” 

But, he does not explain why this is necessarily a bad thing. Falco’s position assumes that the Comcast/TWC outcome will misuse its dominant position to the disadvantage of its Latino markets when everything indicates it is time to appeal to Latino TV markets more. 

Latino TV markets

You have to be careful to define what you mean by Latino TV. The assumption is that Latino TV is Spanish language television only. But, a very large percentage of the audience that identifies itself as Hispanic in origin consists of bi-lingual Latino-Americans who appreciate Spanish-language television but are also interested in mainstream English-language programming that features Latino themes, story lines, and performers. In other words, the programming does not have to be in Spanish to appeal to an Hispanic audience.

Media understand that Hispanic households earning $50,000 and more are escalating, and the Latino population will increase by 162% through 2050. And, the median age for Latinos is 27, smack in the middle of the most desirable advertising demographic. Such numbers will drive programming on the major commercial networks as well as the current Spanish-language networks. 

Trends and targets

  • Spanish-language programming has been static, loaded with variety and games shows plus tele-novelas. And, if it works, there is nothing to fix. However, Latino markets vary in location, density, and culture. The interests and demographics of Cuban differs from regions with heavy Puerto Rican populations. Mexican-American cultural interests are different from other Central Americans. And, some markets reach across borders. You are likely to see market segmentation to address these demographics.
  • Spending on Spanish-language advertising will increase as it is decreasing in English-language television. But, advertising in English will have an increased presence on Spanish-language programs. So, you can foresee Hispanic programming that is truly bi-lingual with dialog and characters moving between languages with some agility.
  • As markets expand and regional interests influence programming, you will see a wider range of content. Networks will deliver targeted programming in sports, news, tele-novelas, and more. New channels include Telemundo’s Mun2, Fusion and El Rey target English-dominant Hispanics with a focus on entertainment directed at the tastes of Hispanic millennials. 
  • FoxNewsLatino, CNN Latino, and NBC Latino have folded or severely re-imagined their approaches. A Nielsen rating study indicates Hispanic consumers have rapidly adopted mobile media venues at a higher rate than any other demographic group and watch more hours of video online than any other demographic group.

The present and future Latino-in-America audience forms an economic power block worth attention. It represents significant advertising revenues, but it also drives taste and content. The power of the demographics will command the attention of programming creators and providers, and it will change the color and content of television for all markets.


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