August 03, 2017

It's no secret that traditional Spanish broadcast networks have been experiencing a steady loss of viewers in the U.S. year over year. Many factors are contributing to this decline including a slowing in immigration from Mexico. But, perhaps even more impactful is the fact that growth in the U.S. Hispanic market is primarily coming from U.S. born. However, our latest report, which focuses on the media habits of the Total Market, shows a significant increase in the number of Hispanic millennials streaming Spanish language content via OTT (over the top) services.

We asked a representative sample of U.S. Hispanics the following question in Q2 of 2017 and compared it with the same question we asked of a representative sample of U.S. Hispanics in 2015 through our Hispanic Millennial Project:

Have you streamed any Spanish-language programming in the past 30 days?

Among Hispanics ages 35-64, there was a minimal lift in Spanish-language streaming from 2015 to 2017:

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In 2015, 41% of Hispanics 35-64 reported streaming Spanish-language content vs. 47% in 2017. While this represents a six-point shift, it is not statistically significant. However, looking at the 18-34 Hispanic millennial cohort, we see a much different picture:

Among Hispanic millennials, we do see a statistically significant increase in Spanish-language streaming from 2015 to 2017, from 46% to 65%, a staggering 19-point jump.

So, what’s driving this explosion of Spanish-language streaming behavior among Hispanic millennials? Here are my thoughts:

    More Options: In August of 2015, Netflix released its first Spanish-language original series, Club de Cuervos. Since then, we have seen a surge of original Spanish-language programming available on multiple streaming platforms such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube Red. Prior to streaming options, Hispanic millennials were confined to traditional broadcast networks such as Univision and Telemundo. But with the rising popularity of streaming, these networks find themselves in the fight of their lives as they rage against a technology that makes delivering Spanish-language content to content craving millennials effortless. And we’ll see this natural progression towards streaming more Spanish-language content continue.

    Digital Reculturation: A topic I’ve written on before, digital reculturation is the process of rediscovering one’s culture of origin/identification online through digital representations of culture. Companies like mitú and Remezcla, for example, are bringing Hispanic culture (more specifically, bi-cultural Hispanic millennial culture) to the forefront of all their content, driving further exploration of Spanish-language content via streaming. Mitú, in particular, has expanded into original Netflix content, closing the gap between digital content and streaming services.

    Family: While Spanish-language proficiency is waning among U.S. Hispanics, 95% of U.S. Hispanics say it is important that future generations of Hispanics living in the U.S. be able to speak Spanish. As millennials have children, many may not be proficient enough in Spanish to transfer the language to their children. Streaming Spanish-language children’s content may be the millennial version of Español sin barreras for kids. The rise in Spanish-language content isn’t geared only towards millennials. There are now more Spanish-language children’s shows than ever available for streaming.

This surge in Spanish language streaming among millennials is fascinating. The tension in data between a population that is becoming more English-dominant yet is streaming more Spanish-language content is fertile ground for researchers to cultivate a deeper understanding of this growing trend and the cohort driving it. For marketers, the data makes one thing crystal clear: Spanish-language is still relevant. The burden for marketers will be figuring out how to infuse Spanish-language messaging into a population that operates in an English-dominant world.

About the Author

MARIO CARRASCO, partner, ThinkNow Research

 

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