Latinos Dominate OTT Streaming; Spanish-Language Latinos Lag in Adoption, but Not in Viewing Habits: Study
The latest study shows Latinos still dominate the over-the-top (OTT) Internet streaming entertainment market, and adds new insights about the differences (and similarities) between Spanish-dominant and English-speaking or bilingual households.
A new FOCUS Latino report by Horowitz Research confirms what other studies have shown -- that Latinos are much more likely to stream digital video or so called over-the-top (OTT) content through the Internet than the average consumer. But the latest findings from Focus Latino, which also looked at technology adoption, add a new wrinkle to the picture:
While English-dominant and bilingual Latinos drive the numbers, Spanish-dominant Hispanics are just as likely to be interested in streaming TV. It's just a matter of access.
Latinos Dominate OTT
First off, the FOCUS Latino study confirmed what previous studies on the Hispanic tech/media market have found. As the study's release puts it, Latinos "are more likely to have made streaming an integral part of their video viewing lifestyle," than other subsets of U.S. consumers and the overall average.
Half, or 51 percent, of Latino TV viewers in the study spent at least 20 percent of their time with digital video content, compared to 43 percent of total urban "TV" viewers, for example. A report last year from TV ratings company Nielsen similarly found that Latinos, on average, watched over eight hours of video on the Internet, compared to the average American who spent little over six and a half hours watching Internet video weekly.
The Divide Between English and Spanish-Dominant
When broken into language groups, FOCUS Latino found that 54 percent of bilingual and 56 percent of English-dominant Latinos spent at least a fifth of their time viewing streaming entertainment. Spanish-dominant Latinos, however, met that 20 percent benchmark at a rate of only 35 percent.
The same kind of linguistic difference (which may be tied to acculturation, in general) played a part in the technology adoption of Latino households. An amazing 92 and 95 percent of bilingual and English-oriented Latinos (respectively) had OTT viewing capabilities, measured as ownership of mobile devices, Internet-connected TVs, or computers. Only 74 percent of Spanish-dominant Latinos met the same criteria.
A Measure of Access, not Interest
These statistics could lead to the conclusion that Spanish-speaking Latinos are less interested in or oriented around OTT entertainment -- which would belie the efforts of DirecTV's Yaveo (the first official OTT service to be introduced in the U.S., which is made of exclusively Spanish-language programming) or Sling TV's latest base streaming package of majority Spanish-language content introduced earlier in the summer, Sling Latino.
Or, for that matter, the Latino-built Internet TV startups coming online this summer like Pongalo or TuYo -- or MiTu, which has found success partnering with major traditional and online media firms to produce Spanish-language content.
But the reality is never so cut and dried, which FOCUS Latino found after looking at those Spanish-dominant Latinos that did own requisite devices and had regular access to OTT services.
Looking at Latinos with OTT access, those that already stream video and TV, FOCUS Latino found a similarly, and heavy, use regardless of language groups. In fact, the average OTT-capable Latino used streaming for about half of the entertainment they watched.
Once They Get Streaming, All Latinos Stream a LOT
Take the Spanish-dominant Latinos who already use streaming services. Those particular Latinos spent about 49 percent of their viewing time with streamed content, and 62 percent reported being regular viewers of streaming Spanish-language content.
That's a huge use difference among streamers, considering that English-dominant streamers of OTT spent 45 percent of their entertainment time using OTT. (Bilingual Latinos who stream video remained the top group, with 51 percent of their time spent with online video and TV.)
These are the core audiences streaming services want to go after first, and though fewer Spanish-dominant Latinos have the access they need for OTT video, those who do are rabid streamers, just like every other Latino across the language and acculturation spectra that have caught the streaming bug.
And the especially high rate at which Spanish-dominant streamers are loyal customers (or "regular" viewers of Spanish-language OTT content) hints that while it may be a smaller market segment, it makes sense from a monthly membership/renewal standpoint to go after these audiences.
Latino Content: Not Just for "Latino" Streaming Services
Netflix, which as Wired recently reported, has added several Latin American Spanish-language shows and movies to its core streaming service in the U.S. -- and, as of Thursday (via Variety) has also committed to producing its own original Latino series -- seems to have picked up on this. The media research firm behind the study also agrees:
"Up until now there has been relatively little Spanish-language content available through OTT. Now, new services like Yaveo are offering a selection of Spanish-language content and established SVOD services, like Hulu and Netflix, are strengthening their Spanish programming. We think this will energize the market. Demand for these services could help close the access gap among less acculturated Latinos," wrote Adriana Waterston, Horowitz's Senior Vice President of Insights and Strategy, on the study's insights.
Whether the streaming content is Spanish-only, English-dominant, or a mix, the overall lesson is: "If you build it, they will come" -- even if it takes a little longer for some parts of the market to adopt the technology and speedy connection they need.
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