Media companies rush to provide streaming options for US Hispanic audience

Telemundo, Univision, and other companies are building out streaming platforms catering to stateside Spanish speakers.
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· 5 min read

The US streaming wars are getting bilingual.

In the past few years, several media companies have been making efforts to capture more of the US Hispanic audience. The old guard of US Spanish-language broadcasting like Telemundo and Univision, as well as newer companies born of the internet, is building out streaming platforms catering to Spanish-speakers in the US.

Romina Rosado, EVP and GM of Hispanic streaming at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, told Marketing Brew that media companies are looking to account for this picture of the country’s demographics.

“As a company, if you are trying to reach Latinos under the age of 40, you need to have a well-thought-out strategy to find them where they are,” Rosado said.

  • Earlier this year, NBCU established Telemundo Streaming Studios, a division responsible for producing original content for Hispanic audiences across the streaming ecosystem. A few months later, NBCU created a separate unit charged with attracting Hispanic audiences to NBCU’s own streaming platforms like Peacock.
  • Univision, Telemundo’s chief competitor, introduced a free, ad-supported streaming service in March called PrendeTV. That’s on top of its existing subscription service Univision NOW. And the company is working on yet another paid streaming service coming next year. At launch, PrendeTV said it was working with advertisers like Chase, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’, McDonald’s, Toyota, Universal Pictures, Verizon, and Walmart.
  • Pluto TV, an ad-supported internet TV service from CBSViacom, recently expanded and rebranded its Hispanic–focused offering called Pluto TV en español.

Legacy broadcasters are far from the only players rushing to get in front of US Hispanic streamers. Pantaya is a subscription service with TV shows and movies launched in 2017 by Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media Group. Hemisphere bought out the whole service this year for $124 million and said it plans to grow its subscriber count from 900,000 to 2.5–3 million within four years.

Ad buyers are attuned to the opportunity with Hispanic streamers, Karina Dobarro, EVP and managing partner at media agency Horizon Media, told us.

“Hispanics have from the beginning led in digital video consumption, but the options were limited until recently. With the entrance of these new endemic streaming platforms, we are able to effectively shift dollars to this growing space to match Hispanic video consumption habits,” Dobarro said.

Recognizing the opportunity

The consumer buying power of Hispanic Americans in 2020 was $1.9 trillion, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. The demographic’s proportion of total US buying power has more than doubled, from 5% in 1990 to 11.1% in 2020.

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There’s evidence that advertisers and publishers are trying harder to reach Spanish speakers. In 2019, Verizon ran commercials during the Oscars on ABC that featured English and Spanish speakers, without subtitles. Disney told Variety at the time that it was open to continuing that practice and extending it to its other networks like ESPN and Freefrom.

In June, Adweek reported that Univision’s upfronts this year yielded double-digit increases in CPM and volume, noting the company saw “high demand” in its sports, news, and streaming inventory.

“Historically, larger brands have generally had a media and marketing mix that included engaging with Hispanic consumers and media. Today, brands of all sizes recognize that a general market approach does not get them the penetration they want, and they see the business opportunity and growth coming from this segment,” Dobarro explained.

Tastemade, a streaming TV channel established in 2012 with cooking, travel, and lifestyle content, debuted a Spanish-language version of its channel a year ago during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Tastemade en Español carries a mix of original shows as well as content dubbed from the English channel.

“This is an area that’s definitely going to grow. Those audiences are moving to streaming because it’s also much more affordable,” Tastemade’s head of marketing, Rubi Chavez, told Marketing Brew.

Tastemade en Español, like the original channel, is ad-supported, and viewers get a mix of Spanish and English advertisements. Chavez said the company is working to get more Spanish-language advertisers on board.

The Spanish channel’s hours of viewership have grown by 300% since January, Chavez said, although she didn’t provide figures. She attributed the growth to efforts to tailor more of the content to Hispanic audiences in the US as opposed to Tastemade’s global audience.

“Listening to your audience, tailoring that content to them, and showing them faces that they recognize and can connect to is really important,” Chavez said.

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