Study Reveals Increasing Preference for OTT, Spanish-Language Programming Among Hispanic Audiences

What: Multicultural market research firm ThinkNow Research revealed its latest study, the ThinkNow Media™ Report 2017, which found that TV viewing habits among multicultural consumers are dramatically shifting.
Why It Matters: The study found that 61% of Hispanics prefer Netflix for watching television programs (up from 46% in 2016 and 36% in 2015) and that one-third of total market anticipates streaming most or all TV shows in near future.

Multicultural market research firm ThinkNow Research’s latest study, the ThinkNow Media™ Report 2017, spoke to 1,261 consumers ages 18-64 (including a representative sample of U.S. Hispanics, African- Americans, Asians and non-Hispanic whites) regarding media habits, consumption, preferences and delivery methods.

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According to Mario Carrasco, cofounder and principal at ThinkNow, there are “three main assumptions” that brands need to let go of: “that Spanish language broadcast is the golden ticket to Hispanic audiences; that millennials don't consume Spanish content, and that cultural connections are more relevant than acculturation or generation.”

The report found that Hispanics, particularly Millennial Hispanics, are turning to streaming services for their TV viewing. According to the study, 61% of Hispanics prefer Netflix for watching television programs (up from 46% in 2016 and 36% in 2015). Additionally, Hispanics prefer to binge watch TV programs, with 60% viewing an entire season in one weekend.

How Surprising Are The Study's Findings?

Interestingly, Millennials are increasingly selecting Spanish-language programs via OTT services. This may come as a surprise to many brand marketers. “We're seeing this trend as a result of more options with Spanish language original series like Club de Cuervos on Netflix,” Carrasco said.

Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media have picked up on this trend, and recently announced a premium Spanish-language streaming service called PANTAYA. “This trend will continue and other content leaders need to get on board to provide Hispanic consumers with a way to connect with their culture and language,” argued Carrasco.

What do these changing preferences mean for brands that have traditionally invested significant ad spend in networks like Telemundo and Univision under the assumption that they are safe bets for reaching Spanish-dominant Hispanics? According to Carrasco, as streaming services become more popular among Hispanic audiences, marketers will likely begin putting more of their budgets into streaming services and online video for Spanish-language campaigns.

For brands, Carrasco argued, it will be key to begin advertising with Spanish-language programs before it gets expensive: “Getting in now is cost effective as prices have yet to reflect the ROI they represent and you can establish yourself now on streaming as an advertiser before it becomes more competitive,” he said.

This is not to say that Telemundo and Univision do not have their place in Hispanic targeting strategies: “Telemundo and Univision are both great at creating content and can partner with streaming services to provide Spanish language or culturally relevant content to be streamed exclusively on a platform,” Carrasco said.

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Gretchen Gardner @gardnergretchen

Gretchen is a communications specialist and owner of GMG Strategic Communications. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she works with Argentine and international ventures on shaping their content, branding and marketing strategies to position them for success in global markets. She is also a lover of all things information and has worked consistently in journalism since college, most recently as a writer at Portada and as the deputy editor of The Bubble, the first informal, English-language news portal in Buenos Aires. She hails from Washington, D.C. and has a bachelor's degree in history and Hispanic studies from Hamilton College as well as a master's in international relations from the Argentine university Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
Gretchen is a communications specialist and owner of GMG Strategic Communications. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she works with Argentine and international ventures on shaping their content, branding and marketing strategies to position them for success in global markets. She is also a lover of all things information and has worked consistently in journalism since college, most recently as a writer at Portada and as the deputy editor of The Bubble, the first informal, English-language news portal in Buenos Aires. She hails from Washington, D.C. and has a bachelor's degree in history and Hispanic studies from Hamilton College as well as a master's in international relations from the Argentine university Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.

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