Hispanic Viewership Important for TV Networks

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: January 04, 2015
News Source: The Guardian

Rough sailing is ahead for the TV industry as cable and network channels suffer from decreasing viewership brought in part by technological changes. At least in the area of attracting a diverse audience, the Guardian reports "MSNBC's advantage over its competitors is its ability to attract a diverse audience, and especially Latino viewers."

The article continues to note that Hispanic viewership is important for TV networks: Latino viewers are an increasingly important demographic for all networks. The Nielsen Company found that Hispanics in the US have over $1 trillion in purchasing power and represent more than half of US population growth between 2000-2010. Bi-lingual homes where both Spanish and English are spoken currently watch about 50% Spanish-language television, while English-dominant Hispanic households watch a mere 3% of Spanish-language TV. In other words, television networks need to win over this audience if they want to make up the shortfall left by formally loyal absconders. But at the moment few networks are catering for Latinos specifically.

Some people commenting online concede that the main reason for targeting the Hispanic audience especially women is advertising, not precisely programming, as also noted in the article: Hispanic women in particular represent a particularly sought-after advertising demographic. A 2013 Nielsen report shows that while Hispanics in general represent $1.3 trillion in purchasing power, it is the female members of Hispanic households that are driving purchasing decisions.

“Everybody – cable or broadcast, news or entertainment – lacks the same thing,” says Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Center (NHMC), a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos. That “thing” is Latino executives who can guide and drive programming and talent decisions to best reach that specific audience.

Indeed, diversity in networks' top management and creative staff will help generate greater viewership: The NHMC also published report cards each year, grading the networks on the presence of diversity shown in scripted and reality programming, as well as in writing, directing, and producing positions. According to the data gathered by the NHMC, Latinos made up 8% of regular characters on primetime broadcast scripted new and returning series in the fall 2013 television season. Furthermore, Latinos were only 3% of guests in cable news shows, Latino TV writers are underrepresented by a factor of four to one, and Latino TV producers are underrepresented five to one at the executive producer level, and nearly 30% of all television shows have no minority writers on staff.
But when it comes to increasing viewers, the need for securing a Latino audience is not just a politically correct pander, but a financial necessity.

Read the full article at The Guardian

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