In 2020, major media companies including
Fox Corp. and Comcast rushed to acquire ad-supported streaming services so they could build out their over-the-top footprints and win over consumers. A year later, Spanish-language broadcaster Univision is following suit.
The broadcaster said this month that it would acquire the Spanish-language ad-supported streaming service Vix to build out its streaming assets, which include a soon-to-be-launched free ad-supported service called PrendeTV.
The acquisition is, according to Univision CEO Wade Davis, aimed at “building the most comprehensive, ad-supported streaming offering ever amassed for Latino audiences.” Univision’s ambition underscores the opportunity that Spanish-language programmers and ad-supported streaming services are seeing in super-serving the growing U.S. Hispanic market.
At nearly 20% of the entire U.S. population, with an average age of 29 and buying power that is estimated to reach $2.3 trillion in 2024, the U.S. Hispanic demo is big, young and growing fast. These attributes are attractive to companies looking to build out loyal customers, whether they’re streaming platforms or the marketers advertising on them.
“You’re talking about an enormous number of consumers, and since the average age is 29, you have the youngest multicultural cohort,” said Peter Blacker, evp, chief commercial officer and head of DTC licensing at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. “You’ve got the power of youth and the scale of the youth market, and for some of our partners, they’re more focused on that than anything else.”
For Hispanic broadcasters such as Univision and Telemundo, heading to streaming is a natural response to the well-reported consumer trends that intensified throughout the Covid-19 pandemic: People are streaming more programming than ever.
Among Hispanic viewers, that acceleration is even more pronounced. At the onset of the pandemic, 70% of Hispanics said they increased the amount of time spent watching movies or shows on a streaming service, according to data from Nielsen. Ad-supported streamers see this growth as an opportunity to capture that increased time spent streaming, especially as offerings for Hispanic streamers had been somewhat limited.
“These audiences are extremely savvy when it comes to devices, to tech, to things like streaming, mobile and social, but they are continuously underserved,” said Natalia Borges, Vix’s evp of marketing. “As soon as you open the floodgates to this content and make it easy to access, taking away the barriers of fees or subscriptions or anything like that, you see a huge audience.”
U.S. Hispanics over-index in major subscription streaming service use:
78% of Hispanic households have at least one video-on-demand subscription, compared with 74% of the total U.S. population.
81% of Hispanics use Netflix monthly, five percentage points higher than the total U.S. population.
50% of Hispanics use Disney+ monthly, eight percentage points higher than the total U.S. population.
But Hispanics under-index slightly when it comes to Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, with only 54% and 45% using those services monthly, respectively.
(Nielsen MediaTech Trender Survey, Q1 2020)
For streaming services, there’s an opportunity not just to create originals that are attractive to those audiences, but to monetize decades of library programming that has perhaps not had a streaming home until now.
“It’s going to look a lot like what Netflix did,” said Michael Roca, managing director of multicultural investments at Omnicom’s planning and buying network PHD. “That [content] set the blueprint for everyone and is going to influence a lot of what we are going to see. A lot of the content we are going to see is from libraries and from partnerships, but I won’t be surprised if we see originals in the future.”
Where the consumer goes, so do marketing dollars. And there’s a growing interest among advertisers to target Hispanic audiences specifically, instead of lumping them into a more general category. Those investments can build brand loyalty with younger consumers.
“This is an opportunity for marketers to have a consumer that has a longer shelf life,” Roca said. “When you have a younger consumer base that is outliving the general market, you have a consumer who is going to be almost two decades of loyal consumer versus a general-market consumer.”
There are also other imperatives. “Many brands, many consumers and many companies have woken up to the fact that we need to reflect in our businesses the true face of the U.S. marketplace, which is a multicultural one—and is one that is increasingly Hispanic,” Blacker said.