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Hispanic Advertising: Changing and Valuable

March 7th, 2019   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

Reaching Hispanic television audiences used to be simple: advertising on the Spanish-language stations. This is still important, but profound changes among this population make reaching them there more difficult. Today, Hispanic advertising requires a more nuanced and holistic approach.

Changing the Channel

Hispanic television networks themselves are doing . . . okay. Their ad revenue was flat overall during the 2017 to 2018 broadcast season, Portada reported. Univision decreased market share while Telemundo gained, with the World Cup a linchpin for attracting viewers. The viewership of Spanish-language television was down 19.3 percent overall, according to Samba TV.

These stats reflect two trends: a mainstreaming of tastes and a growing acceptance of Hispanic TV content.

The Mainstreaming of Tastes Among Hispanic Audiences

As generations come of age, they tend to lose touch with their cultural roots, and Hispanics are no different. Pew Research Center found that by the fourth generation, only half of US adults with Hispanic ancestry define themselves as Hispanic. Similarly, Pew found that Spanish speaking in the home declines generation by generation. So, it’s no wonder that these younger, English-first or -only viewers are watching English-language television.

A Growing Acceptance of Hispanic TV Content in the Mainstream

Hispanic characters appeal to everyone, as Sofía Vergara in Modern Family makes clear. New shows this TV season have more Hispanic characters, Forbes noted, without having Hispanic themes. For example, the reboot of Charmed features a trio of Latina women, while ABC’s Grand Hotel, premiering this summer, has a mostly Latino cast.

Certainly, the networks expect a wide range of viewers for such shows—and they can be an excellent way to reach both Hispanics and other segments at the same time.

Surfing the Culture Shift

Television broadcasters and local stations should be aware of these cultural shifts. The Latinx audience (a term preferred by young people, encompassing both women and men) will grow by 1 million each year for the next 20 years, NBC News said.

And this is a juicy market. According to MediaPost, Hispanic Americans wield $1.7 trillion in purchasing power, with more than 50 percent of them under the age of 30. Advertisers want and need to reach this market—and they know they can run Hispanic advertising on English-language stations.

A good example is this American Express ad. As Multichannel News pointed out, it illustrates how Hispanic advertising content can have a universal appeal. The ad features a profile of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton. While Latino consumers are rightly proud of Miranda, the show is a hot ticket among consumers of all persuasions—and it’s likely that the commercial’s appeal is similarly broad.

Top marketers like Sprint and PepsiCo have created Hispanic business units, according to Forbes. These business units emphasize that Hispanic advertising and marketing are a priority, taking equal place among other business units. At the same time, business units focused on Hispanic advertising and marketing allow the company to create comprehensive and long-term plans to reach this segment across media and channels.

Broadcasters and station groups should ally with such business units, collaborating on programming that can hit the sweet spot between mainstream audiences and increasingly mainstreamed Hispanics.

The Impact on Local TV

Programmatic ad buying will be a boon to Hispanic advertising, especially in local television. It will let advertisers use data to create meaningful segments that encompass much more than ethnic heritage or language spoken. Local programmatic television will let advertisers target the Spanish-speaking, pop music-loving teen in Dallas and the English-only, affluent wine lover in New York City with equal estilo.

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