We first started the Hispanic Television Summit 17 years ago for Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News. In 2002, the focus was primarily on Spanish language TV programming. The marketplace was concerned with how networks were negotiating for carriage on cable or satellite, and how they would help to attract Hispanic subscribers for pay TV providers, while broadcasters stressed how they dominated the share of audience.
That conversation has dramatically changed, especially in the past five years, to focus in three areas:
- Technology which has allowed for TV and video to be distributed on multiple platforms, not just broadcast, cable and satellite,
- an increase in the kind of content that Hispanic audiences watch, including programs in English or Spanish or both and
- An increase in video options where viewers can watch, and advertisers may place their media.
The focus of today’s media marketplace is best defined by the advertising brands and their media buying agencies who are enjoying a sophisticated marketplace that has not previously been available to them.
They now have:
- larger Hispanic audiences, watching more programs, more often and on more devices, and
- more options for reaching specific segments within the Hispanic audience
When the Hispanic TV Summit started, the industry challenges were two-fold:
- Finding adequate channel space for carriage of Hispanic networks on cable and satellite TV, and
- Implementing cost-effective marketing tactics for attracting Hispanic subscribers to cable or Satellite TV
Today, the main challenges for the industry are:
- Sustaining the viability of broadcast TV including the impact of re-transmission issues on cable and satellite
- Evaluating the profitability of mass distribution of content across digital and traditional platforms
- Maximizing advertising investment to ensure the most cost effective media placement that will also drive results
- Measuring audience behavior, and influencing viewer behavior
- Addressing how the consumer perceives piracy of content, and the impact piracy is having on the industry
- Developing programming content that is effective at attracting repeat loyal viewers
Today, vastly-improved streaming, and a plethora of viewing devices have placed the Hispanic TV and video business at the intersection of broadcast, cable, satellite and digital.
Streaming delivers specific attributes for the industry’s programmers
- Streaming gives programmers/networks more options for delivering their programming to audiences. While cable and satellite have limited channel capacity, digital offers a broader opportunity to reach more viewers directly
- According to many studies, Streaming has delivered a higher level of viewer satisfaction which , in turn, has generated an audience that is larger, watches more content, and watches more often.
- Streaming allows for technology to better measure audience behavior
- Bigger audiences (plus more data about the audience’s behavior) equates to more opportunities for advertisers to reach Hispanic viewers defined by interest or behavior
The discussion of streaming is one that is in flux and experiencing great change.
Streaming has its biggest competition with traditional TV in the area of “windows” and rights acquisition, notably of “big ticket” live sports events. Currently, traditional players are still able to afford the more expensive rights for leading sports events. This is best reflected by Telemundo’s ownership of the World Cup. The competition for sports rights however is heating up as streaming services continue to increase in viewership and media sales
Another area of change is the recent consolidation of big media groups such as Fox & Disney and DIRECTV & AT&T. Consolidation is inevitable for financial survival. The effect of consolidation on the Hispanic market is not likely to be significant. Long term, it means that these companies will sustain themselves and will continue to be able to serve Hispanic viewers. The area where consolidation will have its greatest impact is (for programmers) the ability to afford the purchase of rights for big ticket events and (for providers) the opportunity to cost-effectively serve Hispanic consumers.
The future of the Hispanic TV industry is bright because TV is moving from mass market to smaller segments or individual experiences.
The Hispanic TV market is likely the best place for any programmer to learn best practices for serving smaller or targeted segments of individual viewers. The Hispanic market has always been considered a niche, and has already learned the valuable lessons of how to implement a cost effective business model for reaching a smaller audience segment.
Now that new technologies have introduced streaming on demand, and the convenience of hand held video devices, television and video has become less mass market and has created more individual audience segments. So, as programmers seek to implement cost-efficient tactics for serving smaller segments of individual viewers, they can turn to the Hispanic TV market for experience and direction.
And, finally, the simple matter of demographic growth would indicate that the Hispanic market will sustain its position as the largest of the “individualized markets” well into the future.
From my perspective as producer of the Hispanic TV Summit, this conference has evolved along with the Hispanic TV Industry. The theme of the Summit in 2002 was “The Audience That Will Not Be Ignored”. This year’s theme is “Changing Options for Hispanic Television & Video”. As the Hispanic market has become a more important and significant participant in the overall industry of TV and video, I think the theme for the next phase of the Summit will be “The Audience That Is Leading the Way For the TV and Video Industry”.
The current legacy of the Hispanic TV Summit is that it is the only annual conference that focuses strictly on the business of TV and video for Hispanic viewers in the US and worldwide. It serves as the voice for an entire segment of the overall TV and video industry.
As I make final preparations for tomorrow’s presentation of the 17th Annual Hispanic TV Summit, my personal hope is that the legacy of this event is one where the industry sees it as a great learning experience that addresses the market with the respect that the Hispanic TV business deserves.