Will Snapchat Kill Spanish-language TV?

  • by , Columnist, March 9, 2017

Earlier this month, Snapchat went public in the biggest tech IPO since 2014, raising $3.4 billion to advance its vision to “empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together.”

Flush with cash, Snapchat is much more than a social network and messaging app, it is an alternative to TV and gunning for the nearly $70 billion spent by U.S. advertisers on television. Scott Symonds, AKQA’s managing director of media sums it up nicely, “Snapchat is a brilliant, mobile-age Comcast or Time Warner in terms of being an always-on content delivery platform.”

With over 10 billion-plus daily video views and partnerships with NBC, ESPN, CNN, NFL, MTV, Food Network, Bleacher Report and Mitú, Snapchat certainly has the scale to compete for traditional advertising dollars, including dollars that flow to Spanish-language TV.

U.S. Advertisers Spent $6.2 Billion on Spanish-language TV



When it comes to Hispanic advertising, Spanish-language TV is king, accounting for nearly 80% of all Hispanic major-media spending in 2015 per the 2016 Hispanic Fact Pack. When it comes to Spanish-language TV, giants Univision and NBC-owned Telemundo have dominated for years. Is Snapchat about to change that?

Snapchat’s audience, content and platform are most certainly connecting with Hispanics and thus, attractive for Hispanic advertisers.

Audience According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 6 in 10 Hispanics are millennials or younger, and this group is highly English-proficient and smartphone-savvy. According to eMarketer, Snapchat reaches 53% of millennials and comScore reports that in May 2016 Snapchat reached 12 million Hispanics. Not only is there a critical mass of millennials on Snapchat, they are also highly engaged, using the platform between 25 and 30 minutes per day. As marketers continue to shift their focus to millennials, they are increasingly including Hispanics in their plans and those plans are likely to include more Snapchat and less Spanish-language TV.

Content As mentioned earlier, Snapchat has relevant content partnerships with strong media outlets including multicultural focused Mitú, NBC Universal / Telemundo, and Univision. Much like the advertisers they serve, each of these content companies is hungry to reach the millennial audience, many of whom are Hispanic, and are happy to tailor their content to this audience for Snapchat. In addition, Snapchat’s highly engaging user-generated content logically resonates with millennials including Hispanics.

Platform As covered in depth in this column, Hispanics are mobile super users and over-index in mobile consumption. A study by Nielsen found that “average Hispanic mobile user uses 658 minutes per month on their mobile plan, which is significantly more than the average of 510 minutes per month for all consumers.” As a mobile-first platform, Snapchat is capturing Hispanic eyeballs that may have previously been glued to Spanish-language TV. 

Snapchat is certainly well positioned to siphon advertising dollars away from TV, but can they kill it? If Google and Facebook couldn’t, it is unlikely that Snapchat can. One thing’s for sure, though, Snapchat is changing the way Hispanics consume video content and along with it the very idea of television, including Spanish-language TV as we know it.

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