Tuning In to Hispanic Audiences

Submitted by Lee Singletary
October 5, 2018 / 01:34 PM

By Heather Coghill, Chris McGinnis

Marketers looking to reach the Hispanic population will discover a growing group of potential brand loyalists. After all, U.S. Hispanic consumers accounted for $1.4 trillion in spending power in 2016, according to a report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports there are more than 60 million Hispanic people currently living in the U.S., accounting for 18 percent of the total population. That makes Hispanics the largest minority group in the country — and it's expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than the non-Hispanic population. In fact, over the next 10 years (from 2018 to 2028), the Census projects the Hispanic population will account for the majority of the population growth in the U.S. The Hispanic population will grow 23 percent; the non-Hispanic population will grow by only 4 percent.
 
There are some key facts marketers should keep in mind when reaching Hispanic audiences through TV and digital advertising: this demographic watches premium video, views content cross-screen, and spends less time with linear TV than non-Hispanic audiences. Hispanic populations may be concentrated in terms of where they are located in the country and as a result, marketers would do well to focus on targeted local-market advertising.
 
Here's a closer look at the U.S. Hispanic population and its TV consumption habits.
 

Spanish- Versus English-Language Content

According to May 2018 Household Universe Estimates from the Nielsen National Panel, about a third of Hispanic audiences live in Spanish-dominant households (i.e., they mostly or only speak Spanish at home), a third live in households where English and Spanish are spoken equally, and a third live in English-dominant households (i.e., they speak mostly English or only English at home).
 
Spanish speaking households watch both Spanish- and English-language television. In fact, according to Comcast viewership data from late 2017, 54 percent of viewing in Spanish-dominant households is spent with English-language cable programming; only 9 percent of viewing is spent with Spanish-language cable programming.
 
FIGURE 1
U.S. Hispanic Household TV Content Consumption by Language
 

Note: Based on aggregated linear viewing time. English broadcast is defined as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and independent networks. Spanish broadcast is defined as Univision, Telemundo, Unimas, Azteca, and Estrella TV. Spanish cable is defined as Galavision, Fox Deportes, CNN en Espanol, Bein Sports en Espanol, ESPN Deportes, Tr3s, Canal Sur, Universo, History en Espanol, Univision Deportes, and Discovery en Espanol. English cable is defined as all other networks except CW, PBS, and MeTV. Premium is defined as HBO, STARZ, Cinemax, and Showtime.

Source: 2017 Q4 Comcast viewership data

 
To put it simply: Marketers currently trying to reach Hispanic audiences and whose only media buy is spent on Spanish-language networks are missing 85 percent of Hispanic consumers' viewing time.
 

TV Viewing Habits

The advertising industry has long fought the effects of fragmentation as the act of consuming video continues to splinter across devices. Compared to the total U.S. population, Hispanic audiences spend a greater portion of their video time across other devices outside of TV.
 
The 2018 Q1 Nielsen Total Audience Report found that the U.S. Hispanic adult population consumes more than double the percentage of daily time spent with video on smartphones and tablets than non-Hispanic audiences.
 
Still, the average Hispanic household spends more than 4.5 hours with live linear TV daily, with an additional 22 minutes spent on DVR content and 20 minutes spent with video on-demand, according to Comcast viewership data from late 2017.
 
On TV, there's a wider set of options available, thanks to English- and Spanish-language programming, so their time is spread across a greater number of networks. For marketers that means picking only the top networks, dayparts, and genres isn't the optimal approach for reach.
 

Whose Remote Is It, Anyway?

According to May 2018 Household Universe Estimates from Nielsen's National Panel, 67 percent of the Hispanic population lives in households with more than three people, while for non-Hispanics the rate is much lower, at 39 percent. This impacts viewing behavior.
 
In Hispanic households, there are more people than TV sets (an average 0.88 TV sets per person), while in non-Hispanic households there are more TV sets than people (1.20 TV sets per person), Nielsen reports. This also impacts viewing behavior. Hispanics are more likely to co-view, spend slightly less time with television than non-Hispanics, and, conversely, spend more time with video content on other devices (smartphones, laptops, and tablets). If the TV in the living room is tuned to something someone in the household doesn't want to watch, they will find the content they want on other devices.
 
The Hispanic population in the U.S., according to the Census, skews younger than the national average, with 58 percent under the age of 35, compared to 43 percent of all non-Hispanics.
 
FIGURE 2
Key Characteristics of Hispanic vs. Non-Hispanic Consumers
Source: Nielsen National Panel, P2+ Household Universe Estimates, May 2018
 
Watching video content on tablets, laptops, and smartphones is common in this age group and marketers who wish to reach young millennials and older gen Zers — those in the 18 to 29 age group — will need to really consider the population's characteristics, including whether they are bilingual or lean more toward speaking English or Spanish, how many people reside in their households, and, of course for local optimization, where in the country they reside.
 

Advertise Where They Live

Marketers who want to reach Hispanic audiences will need to extend beyond Spanish-language networks and reach them wherever they watch video content. What's more, marketers will need to gear their campaign messaging toward targeted geographic areas where Hispanic audiences live in order to reduce waste in their media buys.
 
FIGURE 3
Hispanic Share in Population Densities Across the U.S. in 2014
Source: 2014 U.S. Census Bureau
 
The Hispanic population isn't evenly distributed across the U.S. More than two-thirds of the U.S. Hispanic population lives in just 20 designated market areas (DMA), compared to just over 43 percent of the non-Hispanic population, according to the Nielsen 2017–2018 Total and Ethnic DMA Ranks for 210 Local Television Markets report.
 
Ultimately, to run a successful cable TV advertising campaign in pursuit of Hispanic audiences, marketers will need to understand them, know where they live, and how they consume media. Marketers should be careful to not limit what is possible by constricting their buys to certain dayparts, shows, or networks and instead pursue this unique audience wherever they may be consuming content.
 
Heather Coghill is the senior director of audience insights and Chris McGinnis is a research analyst, both at Comcast Spotlight. You can email them at heather_coghill@cable.comcast.com and chris_mcginnis@cable.comcast.com.
 
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