With conversations about race, cultural diversity, and inclusion front and center in society, U.S. Hispanic audiences expect to see even more diversity now in media than ever before, according to Horowitz Research’s latest “FOCUS Latinx: Consumer Engagement 2021” report.
Two-thirds (64%) of Latino consumers surveyed feel the media plays a big role in helping change stereotypes and negative opinions different groups have of each other. The study—which covers topics including how U.S. Hispanic viewers perceive the amount and quality of Latino representation in scripted entertainment and news coverage—underscores that mainstream media still has a way to go when it comes to fulfilling the mandate to be more inclusive of U.S. Hispanic and other diverse communities.
Furthermore, Latino viewers seek TV shows and movies that speak to their culture and experiences in a relatable way. The study finds that diversity in lead actors and having positive portrayals of diverse communities are both major drivers for choosing to watch a show or movie, with six in ten U.S. Hispanics—and seven in ten younger Hispanic viewers—saying this would make them more likely to watch.
On the positive side, four in ten Latinos surveyed feel they are seeing more positive portrayals of Hispanic characters and communities in scripted TV shows. However, almost half say that what they are seeing in scripted content is the same or worse than they were before. Similarly, over four in ten feel that coverage of Hispanic/Latino communities and people in the news has improved, but a similar percentage of U.S. Hispanics feel things haven’t changed or have gotten worse when it comes to news coverage.
A LATINO LOOK AT ‘OTT’
Latino viewers surveyed have the most favorable opinions of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, followed by Hulu, when it comes to perceptions of how diverse talent are showcased in their content, compared to traditional broadcast and cable brands.
“These data underscore a major challenge that media brands are running into when it comes to their diversity efforts,” explains Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer and Insights & Strategy Lead at Horowitz. “Many traditional, mainstream media brands have started to be more thoughtful about building cultural, racial, ethnic, and lifestyle diversity into their content, but it’s not necessarily a case of ‘if you build it, they will come immediately.
Multicultural audiences, especially Latino audiences, are leaning heavily into streaming, and viewing in the streaming space is still dominated by the main streaming players, she adds. Building awareness and driving viewership of any new shows on linear TV or in the new streaming services from mainstream media companies will require an investment in consumer marketing and promotion, and a willingness to give those shows time to build a fan base. “This is difficult for media companies whose ad sales hinge on delivering strong viewership numbers right away,” Waterston said.
● Over half (54%) of Latinx consumers feel that they are seeing more ads featuring diverse people, lifestyles, and cultures. Older Latinx—who are the most likely to be tuning into live, linear TV—are more likely to feel this way than their younger counterparts.
● Demand for Spanish-language content remains strong. Most (66%) Latinx consume at least some of their media—including TV, radio, internet, and social media—in Spanish, including two in three Latinx 18-34.
● There continues to be growing acceptance of the gender-neutral term Latinx, with more than one in ten consumers surveyed selecting this as the term they prefer, and almost one in four saying that while it is not the term they prefer, they do not mind it. This is driven heavily by younger Latinx, who, like many other younger millennial and Gen Z consumers, have a much more equitable, fluid, and non-binary view of gender, gender roles, and sexual identity.
Hispanic Market Overview does not use the fabricated term “Latinx,” which neither the Hispanic marketing and advertising community nor the U.S. Hispanic population has embraced.