Going Where the People Are: TV outlets are increasingly targeting Hispanic viewers
The TV business runs on numbers. So it’s really no surprise that networks from ABC to Fox are ramping up their efforts to offer news aimed at Hispanic viewers. The real wonder is that it took so long.
For years, Latinos were mostly ignored by the biggest names in broadcast TV, viewed as a niche audience that wasn’t worth the effort. That changed when the 2010 census count of Americans of Hispanic descent topped 50 million, one-sixth of the U.S. population. Their median age is a demographically desirable 27, compared with 42 for non-Hispanic whites. And they spend plenty — $1 trillion a year, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Leading the charge to attract them is MundoFox, featuring entertainment shows and news in Spanish, which launched in August with affiliates in 50 markets, including all of the top 10. The network is aimed at younger, bilingual Hispanics, a group Fox believes is not being served by existing Spanish-language programming. So far, only two of the new MundoFox stations offer local news, but that will change quickly, says Jorge Mettey, senior vice president of news. And when it does, Fox will be up against a behemoth and a well-established runner-up.
The big dog is Univision, whose pedigree dates back 50 years to when the first full-time Spanish-language station in the United States signed on in San Antonio. Today, it’s one of the most popular networks in any language. In prime time, Univision often beats one or more of the big four English-language networks among viewers under 49. The No. 2 Spanish-language broadcast network, Telemundo, started about 30 years ago and has an audience about a third as large.