October 17, 2019

By Adriana Waterston - Horowitz Research

In response to a recent op-ed about the missed opportunity in the streaming service market among Hispanics, Jose Villa, president of Sensis, notes that “the Hispanic market has been targeted sparingly and with mixed results by streaming video and OTT players” and opines that “Spanish-language content preference and consumption provides the best basis for identifying a unique market opportunity for streaming video in the U.S. Hispanic market.”
Horowitz Research has been tracking the adoption of streaming among Hispanics for over 10 years and has been profiling the Hispanic market by content preferences, age, acculturation, and other variables. We agree that there is tremendous demand for streamed content among Spanish-language consuming Latinx, and missed opportunities to super-serve the Latinx market in general. But a hyper-targeted approach that focuses only on Spanish-language content may not be the answer.
The vast majority of Latinx in the U.S. are linguistically fluid, speaking a combination of both English and Spanish in the home—especially those who are younger and bicultural. The majority consume a mix of English and Spanish-language content rather than remaining siloed in one language or another. In other words, Latinx viewers are not necessarily always looking for Spanish-language content; they are looking for the best content, whether it is offered in Spanish or English or any other language. This broadens, rather than narrows, their viewing opportunities.
As Villa’s article asserts— and our own data confirm— of all the subscription-based streaming services, Netflix is the most frequently used among Latinx (YouTube is the main source for free video content). It is also the most used subscription source for Spanish-language streamed content and for streamed content in general, across all consumer groups. Netflix leads the market because they provide an incredibly deep and diverse library of content—the best content, some might argue-- in any language, not just Spanish-language content. Take the example of La Casa del Papel, the series from Spain which became so popular that Netflix renamed it to Money Heist to make it easier for English-oriented viewers to find and enjoy (whether Latinx or not). Latinx and other streamers are also devouring Netflix’s library of Korean, Chinese and Russian soap operas, Bollywood movies, and other top-notch international content they can watch with Spanish (or English) subtitles, along with all of Netflix’ mainstream, American content and originals. Targeting Latinx with only Spanish-language content fails to acknowledge their actual viewing behaviors and could be viewed as an attempt to “ghettoize” them into services based on assumptions about their content needs.
Moreover, streaming services rely on advertising, distribution, and/or subscription revenue, and it is challenging: Even Netflix operates on negative cash flow. As more streaming services enter the market and content costs continue to rise, the viability of any streaming service will depend on advertisers’ receptivity to advertise on the platform or consumers’ willingness to pay for it, along with everything else they subscribe to. In both those scenarios, our prediction is that services that cater to a broader audience— including Spanish-language content consumers— with a wide variety of domestic and international content in a variety of languages will have the greatest chance of surviving in an increasingly fragmented market.
About Author

Adriana is a seasoned quantitative and qualitative market researcher with expertise on consumer attitudes towards media tools. She has moderated hundreds of groups and conducted in-home ethnographic research on topics ranging from advertising and marketing effectiveness; media and entertainment consumption; unmet needs in technology and media; pricing and packaging; customer satisfaction; family dynamics; and brand/corporate image.  
Adriana oversees Horowitz’s millennial, multicultural and Latino research endeavors. Well-known for her leadership in this space, Adriana is often quoted in the press and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.  She is the co-host of the annual Cultural Insights Forum, a New York City event that draws over 350 media and advertising executives.  

Adriana has been named one of the industry’s “Most Influential Minorities in Cable” (Cablefax Magazine), won the Agency Executive Award at B&C/Multichannel News’ Diversity Discussion, and has received a CTAM TAMI award for her work in multicultural marketing.  She is the co-author of The Practical Guide to Multicultural Marketing, which won the Bronze Global Ebook Awards in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category in 2013.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Adriana is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.


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