Why is this big news? First of all, it affirms that CNN is serious about trying to reach the Hispanic population. Cynthia Hudson, senior vice president and the general manager of CNN en Español and Hispanic Strategy for CNN/U.S., is candid about its need to understand the Hispanic audience: “As a leader in Spanish-language news content we need to have a broad understanding of the U.S. Hispanic [population’s] viewing habits and media consumption trends.”
By teaming up with Nielsen, CNN en Español now has the ability to do in-depth, comprehensive analyses of its audience to determine which content resonates the most with viewers. The network also has access to data on custom audience segments, as well as information on TV viewing habits and audience characteristics. Given that CNN en Español is currently in 7.4 million U.S. households, and 42 million households in Latin America, there is a lot of valuable data to be had there.
Peter Bradbury, managing director for Nielsen’s National Client Solutions, says that access to its data will be “an important tool to help CNN en Español fully understand the [Hispanic] marketplace’s evolving dynamics,” a tool that will give them “a clear understanding of how this important constituency satisfies their need for relevant news.” I agree with Bradbury; knowing what makes your audience tick is the best way to provide quality content and to keep people tuning in every day.
Not only is this information helpful for CNN en Español, it is also immensely important for advertisers looking to buy inventory. The press release announcing the news admitted as much, noting that “Nielsen’s person-level data allows CNN en Español to better monetize its programs and ad inventory while offering agencies and advertisers more granular insights into their audience.”
CNN’s announcement is indicative of a greater trend amongst companies looking to advertise to Hispanics. In the past, many brands thought that they didn’t need to advertise directly on Spanish-language platforms, instead buying up inventory on shows and English-language networks that they considered had enough universal appeal. Needless to say, this demographically neutral tactic didn’t do much to specifically attract Hispanics, and brands have quickly scrambled to put money back into Spanish-language networks such as Telemundo and Univision. As a result, it’s not that surprising that CNN chose to make its move now, especially as we creep closer to upfront season (the time of year when networks look to sell most of their advertising inventory).
It’s also a good time for Spanish-language networks that aren’t named Univision. At the moment, the network is dealing with numerous challenges, including the earlier than anticipated exit of its CEO, Randy Falco, and a recently scrapped IPO. Telemundo has picked up the slack, and ended last year as the country’s number one Spanish-language broadcast network for weekday primetime programming amongst viewers aged 18 to 49, which is arguably the most coveted demographic at the moment. It also has the rights to broadcast the World Cup later this year, marking the first time in 30 years that the soccer championship will not be appearing on Univision.
CNN en Español’s partnership with Nielsen ultimately makes the network more attractive from an advertising perspective, positioning the network as a possible spoiler in the competition between Univision and Telemundo. While the partnership is focused primarily on CNN en Español’s televised presence, knowing more about the Hispanic audience will help CNN better target it across all channels, including digital ones. The only way to provide a quality experience that keeps viewers glued to their seats is to know exactly what kind of content they’re looking for.