Why Hollywood, Cable Companies Are Not Satisfying Hispanics

Lower prices, fresher programming and more mobile viewing would help

Hispanics have embraced mobile technology faster than any other ethnic group in the United States, giving both Hollywood and cable companies another reason to reconsider their business approach to the country’s fastest growing minority.

According to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hispanics are streaming and downloading video using their mobile devices at a higher rate than any other ethnic group (see chart above). They do so because it is cheaper and easier to find Spanish-language programming using a mobile device.

Some cable and satellite providers have begun offering products targeted specifically at Hispanics, but Matthew Lieberman, entertainment, media and communications marketing leader at PwC, told TheWrap that they have a long way to go.

“These companies need to focus on more fundamental changes to meet this demographic’s desire,” Lieberman told TheWrap in an email.

 Also read: Why Comcast, AT&T Are Spending Billions to Get Bigger

One area ripe for improvement: TV everywhere, the ability to watch videos wherever and however. Every major technology company in America has spent the past couple of years trumpeting mobile as the future of their business. It is the biggest reason for the rise in Facebook’s stock.

The reasons for this acute focus on mobile are obvious. There are more mobile phones than computers, and people have their phones on them at all times.  If you want someone to buy a product, chances are that process will begin on their phones.

The same is increasingly true for video, as YouTube, Yahoo and others try to lure viewers via the phone. Companies like Netflix are among the few exempt from this, as some people still want to watch full movies and TV shows using a TV.

 Also read: Hispanic Moviegoers Had Major Impact on 2013 Box Office

Cable companies have made major strides in this regard, and this report reinforces the need for even more experimentation.

“This represents huge opportunities for content owners and distributors as we hear more and more from consumers ‘I am, therefore I stream,’” Lieberman said. “Forty-three percent and 37 percent of Hispanics, as opposed to 25 percent and 17 percent of non-Hispanics, stream and download video on their mobile devices at least once a week, playing into the ‘anytime, anywhere’ mantra.”

Mobile services are just one part of the equation. If cable companies want to lure more Hispanic customers, they should also consider lower-cost cable packages.

“Hispanic consumers are streaming and downloading video content to a greater degree than non-Hispanics and doing so in part to avoid costly subscriptions,” the report said. “To create greater appeal and value, providers could offer customized plans to meet a variety of budgets and needs.”

And then there is the programming itself. The report suggests more studios create “culturally relevant programming.” Political correctness aside, that is one area where Hollywood could has some ground to make up. Only a few hit English-language properties are designed with the Hispanic audience in mind.

Yet when a movie or show does captivate that audience, like “Fast and the Furious,” it reaps dividends for all those involved.

This report holds great significance for the future of the cable and media industries because not only are Hispanics the fastest growing minority in the country, but they also have the greatest purchasing power of any ethnic group.

Translation: if you want to make more money in the future, make sure your TV shows, movies music (and everything else) are easy to find, buy and stream via mobile devices.