The Importance of Hispanic Audiences To The Entertainment Biz

When the Pixar animated film “Coco” was released last year, it garnered immediate praise for the way it was able to incorporate elements of Mexican culture — music, art, language — into a beautifully animated, emotionally resonant film.

As Benjamin Bratt, one of the stars of the film, said after the movie’s release, “The thing I am most proud of is that Latinos instantly developed a proprietary relationship with the film. They have claimed it as their own, visiting it in theaters on multiple occasions, like they would a close family member.”

As the hype over films like “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Black Panther” has shown, audiences crave movies that contain nuanced, complex representations of diversity, especially those that take the time to be authentic and relatable.

With regard to “Coco,” writer Carlos Aguilar says that his family in Mexico “was shocked and moved by how truthfully the film captured traditions and Mexican idiosyncrasies,” and how much it “felt like an authentically Mexican work of art” despite being made by an American studio.  



On top of all of that, the movie was a huge commercial success, grossing over $800 million in theaters worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing film of all time in Mexico, according to  report in Hollywood Reporter.

Despite the fact that it was always intended to reach a wider audience, the film’s success shows the importance of taking a culture-first approach to creative — and it also shows the power that Hispanic audiences have.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Latinos have the highest movie-going rate of any demographic, watching an average of 4.5 films in theaters in 2017. On top of that, Hispanics account for 24% of those termed “frequent moviegoers”  — people who see films at least once a month. While comprising only 18%t of the general US population, Hispanics bought 23% of all movie tickets sold in 2017 — yet another indication of how popular the medium is among the demographic.  

PWC characterizes U.S. Hispanics as “a growing market of media-hungry social influencers with spending power that continues to multiply.” In addition to being highly engaged on digital platforms, they also use their mobile phones more than any other demographic.

PWC also reports that Hispanics “stream and download content more than consumers overall,” on multiple devices. Forty-three percent of U.S. Hispanics report using their phones to purchase movie or show tickets at least once a week, which is 12% higher than the proportion of non-Hispanics who do so.  

All of this is to say that U.S. Hispanics are highly engaged, highly active consumers of entertainment content, whether it’s on the silver screen or the tablet in front of them. According to Nielsen, Hispanics over-index on the consumption of digital video, and 67% have at least one subscription to a video-streaming service. The average Hispanic consumer also spends over 26 hours a month streaming video online or on their smartphone, which is seven hours higher than the national average.

Not only does this mean that those who create such content — films, television shows, YouTube videos, etc. — should be more aware of their Hispanic viewers, it’s also a good entry point for brands looking to raise awareness among the audience. While some streaming services currently do not allow advertising on their platforms, others, such as Hulu, do.

Alternatively, brands could team up with Hispanic YouTube influencers to drive greater awareness.  
Finally, brands should take a leaf out of Pixar’s playbook, which decided to have Spanish-language screenings of “Coco” available alongside English ones. This is yet another example of how the company was able to use language and culture to connect with Hispanic audiences.

At the end of the day, as the success of “Coco” shows, when it comes to creating content that will engage Hispanic audiences and hold their attention, authenticity is key. Being able to include details that show a level of familiarity with Hispanic audiences will help to further solidify the perception of a brand as being authentic.

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