Hispanics of All Ages Prefer English-Language Media, PwC Study Finds

Exclusive details from the study will be presented at TheGrill on Monday

First-generation Hispanic Americans may have grown up speaking Spanish, but even with the myriad Spanish-language programming options available, they still prefer to consume English-language media first, according to a new study from accounting and consulting giant PwC.

In the study titled “Always Connected: U.S.-based Hispanic Consumers Dominate Mobile, Entertainment, and Beyond,” PwC found that Latino viewers of all generations consume an above average amount of entertainment, particularly online. And most of that is in English.

The firm surveyed 1,000 people, half of Hispanic decent and half not. PwC will share additional, exclusive data from the survey at TheWrap’s TheGrill conference on Monday in Beverly Hills.

While 60 percent of first-generation Hispanics said they identified better with what was shown on Spanish-language TV, 55 percent say they enjoy watching English-language programs more and 59 percent said English-language shows are of higher quality. Among the second and third generations, preference for English-language programming was stronger. (According to Nielsen, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is the most watched show among Hispanic viewers.)

Hispanic Americans have always been ahead of the pace in terms of mobile adoption, the study said, and while other groups have caught up, their engagement on mobile devices is higher than the national average. The study’s authors said this is because mobile is a convenient and affordable way to interact with others and consume entertainment.

“For U.S. Hispanic consumers — more so than non-Hispanics — mobile technology has become an affordable communication and entertainment vehicle,” they wrote. “With a phone, U.S. Hispanic consumers can not only stay in touch with friends and loved ones outside the U.S., they can also get unlimited access to a world of information and entertainment that might otherwise be unreachable.

Hispanic consumers used every single category of electronic devices at a higher rate than non-Hispanics with two exceptions: smart TVs and TiVo/DVR. They also like to stream video much more than non-Hispanics, the study found.

“The average Hispanic consumer spends more than 26 hours per month watching video online/on their smartphone — seven hours more than the US average — likely driven by data usage 16 percent higher than the national average,” the study said.

And even though there’s plenty of Spanish-language content online, just 3 percent of first-generation Hispanic consumers stream exclusively in Spanish, and 21 percent stream more in Spanish than English.

The study also found some behavioral distinctions within U.S. Hispanics. Consumers of Mexican descent engage with streaming video content more often than other Hispanics, and they also attend the movies more, seeing 7.3 films a year compared with 6.8 for other Hispanics.

Hispanics in general are extremely valuable to the box office, as they see about 0.6 more movies a year than non-Hispanics. Among women, that difference is more pronounced, as Hispanic women see nearly two more movies per year than non-Hispanic women (6.8 films compared to 5.2). And 27 percent of Hispanic women often see movies on opening weekend, while only 14 percent of non-Hispanic women do.

Hispanic consumers tend to also use apps and social media sites at a higher rate than non-Hispanics. For example, 70 percent of U.S. Hispanics use YouTube, compared with 61 percent of non-Hispanic sample. One of the biggest differences is with WhatsApp — 28 percent of Hispanics use it, compared with 18 percent of non-Hispanics. WhatsApp is a popular and extremely inexpensive way to communicate across borders, which may account for some of that divergence.

There’s one area, though, where Hispanic consumers are not trendsetters: cutting the cord.

While 18 percent of non-Hispanic consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 have never subscribed to a pay-TV service, only 9 percent of Hispanics have done the same. However, Hispanic consumers saw themselves subscribing to cable in the future at a lower rate than non-Hispanics.

The study advised advertisers seeking to reach Hispanic audiences to pay attention to cultural differences, avoid simply translating English messages to Spanish — because Hispanic consumers read both — and most of all, to focus on mobile.

“Hispanic consumers spend a disproportionate amount of their day on the phone–most notably, streaming videos,” it said. “Mobile video and, in particular, YouTube, are at the heart of Hispanic consumers.”

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