The state of Hispanic TV: Healthy
And stronger than English-language rivals, it turns out
November 12, 2015
By the editors of Media Life
This article is part of an ongoing Media Life series entitled “Catching the next big wave: Hispanic media.” You can read previous stories by clicking here.
The Hispanic TV networks have in many ways held up better against the encroachment of new media than their English-language counterparts.
Spanish-language viewers are much more likely to watch TV programs live than English-language viewers, endearing them to advertisers. And ratings for a number of networks, including Telemundo and Univision Deportes, have risen, a rarity for any channel these days.
Most importantly, ad spending for the major Hispanic networks is up, at a time when many advertisers are shifting dollars away from TV and into digital.
The bottom line: Hispanic TV is quite healthy, something other forms of TV can’t claim.
There are three main components to gauging that health: Ratings, ad spending and time-shifting. We’ll take a look at each one.
Univision has long dominated Spanish-language TV, and it’s still by far the No. 1 network among Hispanics. It’s also long since passed the CW for No. 5 broadcast network overall.
However, Univision’s ratings have declined the past few years, which is more a reflection of how much more Spanish-language TV content there is now and how much higher the quality is than just a few years ago.
Univision is averaging a 0.8 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating this season, down 27 percent from a 1.1 at this point last year.
Some of those viewers have clearly migrated to Telemundo, which is up 20 percent this season to a 0.6. Smaller networks such as UniMás, Mundo Max and Azteca America are flat.
“The decline of Univision ratings and the emergence of Telemundo and other Hispanic network growth is the big story in Hispanic TV right now,” says one buyer.
On cable, several Spanish-language networks have seen gains, including Univision Deportes Network, which soared 87 percent in primetime over the summer. Discovery Familia was up 104 percent, and Fox Deportes and Galavision rose 16 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
And beIN SPORTS en Español has seen huge gains with its La Liga matchups.
The top six Hispanic broadcast networks, which include MundoMax, Estrella, Azteca and UniMás in addition to Univision and Telemundo, saw an 11 percent gain in ad spending last year, according to Standard Media Index, which tracks ad spending in 80 percent of U.S. agencies.
By comparison, English-language networks were up 3 percent.
The Hispanic tally includes money spent on the hugely popular World Cup, but even stripping that out, Hispanic would have outpaced English-language spending.
During third quarter, Telemundo was one of just two broadcast networks, along with ABC, to see year-to-year ad spending gains. Univision was hurt by tough comparisons to last year’s World Cup.
Nearly every month this year, Hispanic has outpaced English-language TV spending growth, according to SMI.
Even so, buyers say there’s still a lot of room for growth for Hispanic TV. They note Spanish-language TV isn’t usually bought unless the client specifically requests it on a plan, which is holding back spending.
“I believe if we could more easily demonstrate to clients how the Hispanic market could increase their customer base, I think we would buy Hispanic media integrated into most media plans,” another buyer notes.
DVR viewing is the area where Spanish-language and English-language TV diverge the most.
Half of Nielsen households have DVRs, but under 40 percent of Hispanic households do.
That’s one reason why time-shifting among Hispanic viewers is quite low compared to overall levels. For instance, Nielsen found that 92 percent of viewing on Univision during the 2013-’14 season was live, compared to an average of around 60 percent for the Big Five.
Spanish-language TV also lends itself to live viewing, more so than English-language. Most telenovelas air every night, instead of once a week like Big Five programs. That means you almost have to watch live or risk falling behind on the plotlines of the novelas.
Plus, sports tend to draw an almost entirely live audience, and there’s a lot of soccer airing on Univision, Telemundo and Univision Deportes.
This makes Spanish-language TV increasingly attractive for advertisers, who want people to see their messages in a timely manner, especially if they’re promoting an upcoming movie opening or sale.
Seeing those messages a week or two later with DVR viewing is of no use to an advertiser if the sale is already over, plus live viewing means no fast-forwarding through ads.
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