Is the Trend Towards On-Demand TV Applicable to the Hispanic Market?

14 Oct 2009|Miguel Winebrenner

On-demand technology like Apple TV is one more piece of evidence that consumers, thanks to the Internet and DVR capabilities, have and will continue to hold more and more power over what they watch, when they watch, and how much/little advertising they want to see. TV as we know it, including TV for Hispanics, is drastically changing. But there is debate as to how concurrent the new general media paradigm is to the Hispanic media evolution.

Now that Hispanics have the ability to skip through ads and so many of them are doing it, content providers are looking for alternative ways- other than just ad support- to make money. They’ll make some income via product placement, sponsorships and other creative methods, but their future organic growth is closely tied to persuading viewers to directly pay for their content. And this makes sense because it is an avenue to make enough of a profit and consequently be able to offer high-end scripted shows that cost loads of cash to produce.

But not everyone shares the view that the evolution of TV in the general market (DVRs, Apple Tvs, etc) is applicable to the Hispanic market, which is fair. One widely held belief is that not enough Hispanics are online and they haven’t adopted DVR technology as quickly, so they will continue to gravitate towards TV and therefore still be exposed to TV advertising. To a certain extent I question that notion.

While I agree that the rate at which Hispanics could go to on-demand may look slower right now, there are some of examples in which Hispanics have eventually outpaced the general market or even leap-frogged certain standard technological constructs.

Perhaps once the Apple TVs of the world are effectively marketed to Hispanics they may use it more often, integrate more features like music and pictures, and use their word-of-mouth to create a multiplier effect. That happened with mobile technology- Hispanics are more likely to text, call, browse the web, and use the camera on their mobile phones.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if recent arrivals altogether skip cable or satellite company packages and leap-frog right into on-demand products. That too has happened with telephony- Hispanics are significantly more likely to be cell-phone-only users.

Currently on Apple TV, Hispanics can purchase some movies in Spanish, and some content from Discovery en Español and a few others. However, content in Spanish that is culturally relevant is still sparse. Although still in its infancy, I suspect that as with almost all consumer products and services, Hispanics will play an important role in this conversation given the overwhelming evidence of market growth- for example, I just learned that “Garcia” is now the 8th most popular surname in America. If I were Ford, Nestle, Burger King, State Farm, or any other major Hispanic advertiser I would be asking myself how my marketing strategies will need to evolve as the digital divide continues to close and Hispanics shift to on-demand.

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