December 23, 2005
The Growing Influence of Hispanic-American TV

Fellow C3 member Ivan Askwith accompanied my wife and me to dinner last night, where we had a heckuva time getting the attention of the parking attendant, who was busy watching Telemundo. The incident made me think back to a news brief I read in The New York Times on Wednesday, written by Kate Aurthur.

Beginning next week, Nielsen Media Research as announced that it will begin measuring the national numbers for Spanish-language Univision. The companies announced this decision jointly on Monday. A story by Katy Bachman in MediaWeek this week covers the announcement in more detail.

According to The Times, Univision is the first Spanish-language network to subscribe to the Nielsen tracking numbers and hope to be able to get a better idea of the viewing practices of Hispanic viewers.

Then, on Wednesday, Telemundo announced that they would be joining the Nielsen National Television Index along with Univision.

Considering the growing importance of the Hispanic market, the move might make a change in how Hispanic consumers and Spanish-language channels are viewed in American culture. Most television programmers are still quite unsure how to handle the Hispanic market. For instance, Vince McMahon's WWE has, at times, produced some of the top-rated English language programming among Spanish-speaking viewers but the company still seems unsure of how to tap into that market completely while retaining their overall audience.

Nielsen has a National Hispanic Television Index, which Univision and Telemundo were subscribers to, but that index only calculates the Hispanic audience of the networks. The new move could have major long-term implications on the measurement of audiences of Spanish-speaking programming, an audience that is likely to continue growing heavily in the coming years. And, from our point of interest, how might acknowleding this Hispanic audience change the scope of television programming to reflect this audience? Should be interesting to see what happens...