Media Companies Piling into Latino Market but Will It Pay Off?


While the 2010 census was a wake-up call for big media companies to start catering to the fast-growing Latino market, specifically creating Spanish-language programming might not be the best bet, according to media chiefs.
Spanish-language programming was once the sole domain of a few firms like Univision and NBC’s Telemundo. Ten years ago there were around 14 broadcast and cable networks catering to Latinos. Now there are about 100, according to César Conde, the president of Univision. Recently Fox and RCN Televisión of Colombia started “MundoFox”, a Spanish-language broadcast network, according to a recent Economist article.
Univision, the largest network, sold to private-equity firms in 2006 for $13.7 billion. The channel is aimed at Hispanics of Mexican origin, who make up two-thirds of Latinos in the U.S. Telemundo caters to Caribbean Latinos.
Telemundo chief Emilio Romano said it is a “big validation of our business” that media giants are piling into its market. He also said that history shows that once immigrant groups start habitually using English, they want mainstream English entertainment. “I don’t see any English-language channels for Italian-Americans,” he said.
Most of the Hispanic population’s recent growth has come from births, not immigration.
More than a fifth of Latinos in the U.S. speak only English at home.