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Look beyond language to reach Hispanics

News, 20 October 2015

LOS ANGELES: Multicultural marketers need to take a generational approach rather than focusing simply on language, a new study has suggested.

A paper in the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, authored by MAGNA GLOBAL and the Center for Multicultural Science, looked at media behaviours across three generational levels – first, second and third – for the US Latino population, in what it claimed was the first such study.

And it reported that marketers' understanding of the nuances of the Latino population needed to go beyond language to encompass a broader cultural understanding.

The study highlighted the fact that Spanish-language TV stations Univision and Telemundo ranked first and second in the most-watched TV networks among first-generation Hispanics.

But Univision ranked only fifth among second-generation Hispanics, while for third-generation Hispanics, the top five most watched TV networks were all in English.

The trend was apparent within age groups as well as across generations, in that the greater the length of time in the country the more likely first-generation Latinos were to watch English-language TV networks; the proportion increased by as much as 20-30 percentage points depending on how long they had been in the US.

Dr. Jake Beniflah, executive director at the Center for Multicultural Science, described the findings of the study as "paradigm shifting" and said there were major implications for how marketers effectively reach Latinos on television.

"Because the Latino population is changing, we need to adopt new TV audience measures," he explained. "Our research showed that using generational level is an effective predictor of what TV programs US Latinos are watching."

For MAGNA GLOBAL, Brian Hughes, svp/audience measurement, said "using generational level and years-in-country can help marketers pinpoint which type of media outlet will reach a specific Latino audience most effectively".

The findings come ahead of the Hispanic Television Summit being held in New York later this week. Organiser Joe Schramm told Multichannel News that "the Hispanic viewer is not 'nice to have', but is a business 'must-have' and is recognised for being an important segment for the entire TV business".

Data sourced from Center for Multicultural Science, Multichannel News; additional content by Warc staff