Is there A Better Way To Measure The U.S. Hispanic Television Audience?

Is there A Better Way To Measure The U.S. Hispanic Television Audience?

Virtually every leading corporation in the U.S. today views the Hispanic population as a growth segment. Hispanics make up 55 million and are projected to almost triple in size by 2050. Their purchasing power of more than $1.2 trillion in 2013 is growing, and more and more counties, cities, and states are becoming “minority” majorities across the country.

The big question, however, is how can leading corporations improve targeting effectiveness and media efficiency given that the majority of today’s Hispanics are U.S. born, and that Spanish usage declines by generational level?

While it’s clear that Spanish-language has served the Hispanic marketing industry well, moving forward, new metrics will need to be added to better quantify a changing demographic landscape.

Historically, the Hispanic media approach and audience measurement has centered on Spanish-language, which has been the industry standard for more than 20-years—with language quintiles measuring the Hispanic television audience in aggregate.

What if there’s a better way?

Published in the September issue of the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, a new study challenges the “one-size fits all” Spanish-language television measurement model that has dominated U.S. Hispanic marketing for decades.

The study proposes using two well-known variables in cultural marketing — “Generational Level” (i.e., first, second, third generation) and “Years-in-Country” (i.e., number of years in the U.S.) to further dimensionalize the changing U.S. Hispanic television audience.

Generational level is a highly useful variable, which can measure differences across language usage, and other cultural variables under the banner of “culture.” “Years-in-country” can help marketers understand behavioral shifts that take place over time within one generational period (i.e., first generation).

Key Highlights of ‘JCMS’ Study

Univision and Telemundo ranked #1 and #2 in most watched television networks among first generation Hispanics. However, Univision ranked #5 in most watched television networks among second generation Hispanics. For third generation Hispanics, the top five most watched television networks were all in English.
Viewing of Spanish-language programming decreased over time for first-generation Hispanics, while their consumption of English-language programming increased during the same time period. This may be due to their increasing level of proficiency in English, and their desire to expand their TV programming choices (or a combination thereof).
These findings have significant programming implications. Generational level and years-in-country help media companies better target the changing Hispanic television audience, allowing them to allocate budgets with greater granularity.

Understanding the connection to language and other cultural dimensions will continue to be important in targeting the diverse U.S. Hispanic population. But the complexity of culture requires a more nuanced approach, and these two variables offer a straightforward path to increased understanding.

We would love to see syndicated media measurement companies include these variables, which have greater predictive power to help drive media strategy and investment decisions for leading corporations, who are the greatest beneficiaries of this new methodology.

The potential costs savings and budget re-allocation implications from this study are enormous—possibly in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars per year. (Spanish-language media spend exceeded $7 billion in 2014.)

We are optimistic that this fresh approach will spur innovation and openness with media measurement companies, as we have seen—and improve Hispanic television audience measurement in the U.S. regardless of language. We believe this is the paradigm shift corporate America has been waiting for, and will embrace it given its impact on their bottom line.

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