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:
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
So, what’s driving this explosion of Spanish-language streaming behavior among Hispanic millennials? Here are my thoughts:
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.
This is not surprising. Even though the American born young Hispanics are bilingual (specially Millenials), there are nuances of a culture (simple things like emotion, humor etc.) that Spanish language programming captures for them, that regular American programming just doesn't cater to. These millenials being away from their cultural roots consume this content as a means to stay close to their culture and specific values etc. they have been exposed to growing up with their parents or grand parents.
Example- English Humor is different than American Humor is different than Hispanic , German or Asian humor. This is not just for Spanish language consumers, most foreign language "American born" friends and or consumers I know will still watch and consume content in both English and the foreign language because it caters to different parts of their sensibilities as a person that considers themselves as an amalgamation of 2 cultures not necessarily one vs. the other.
Is this reculturation, especially within the 18-34 age group, due in part to a rejection of the current mainstream American culture? If I'm a younger Hispanic individual and I see sentiment and/or rhetoric that marginalizes me, why should I embrace that culture? I'm being judicious in my choice of language but I hope that meaning is clear.
If so, the burden is not just infusing Spanish language, but true understanding, and not just ad-speak.