Latinx streaming-only audience grows to 38%, Spanish-language content options expand

The share of Latinx TV content viewers who rely only on streaming has continued to increase, according to new research from Horowitz, and the firm pointed to a growing pool of Spanish-language and Latinx-themed SVOD and AVOD content options as viewership rises.

Overall, streaming consumption is on the rise – accounting for 31.9% of total TV time in May, according to Nielsen.

Historically, Latinx households have been among those most loyal to traditional pay TV services from MVPDs, but that trend has changed, per Horowitz Research, as penetration of MVPD services is now on par compared to the total market at 52% and 51%, respectively.

The research found there’s also greater consumption of Spanish-language content. Seven in 10 Latinx TV content viewers watch Spanish-language TV at least occasionally, marking an 11% increase from 2021, while two-thirds watch international content. And an increasing percentage of Latinx households are turning to streaming AVOD and SVOD platforms to watch the programming they want.

The share of Latinx households who subscribe only to streaming and not MVPDs continued to increase, now standing at 38%, according to Horowitz’s Latinx: State of Pay TV, OTT & SVOD 2022 report. That compares to 34% in 2021 and just 6% in 2016. The study was fielded in February 2022.

Latinx content viewers over-index on AVOD use, the report shows and for SVOD subscriptions (by 11%) over the total market, on average subscribing to 4.7 SVOD streaming services – up from 4.0 last year.  

“This is due, in part, to the fact that these households want access to both Spanish/Latinx-themed and English language mainstream content,” wrote the Horowitz report authors. 

According to the firm, Latinx subscribers specifically over-index compared to the total markets for subscriptions to Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Disney+, Pantaya, and NOW.   

Alongside more services, the amount Latinx viewers spent on streaming increased significantly. Latinx SVOD subscribers reported spending $70.7 on average for streaming services in 2022, which compares to $48.83 in 2021 and $38.54 in 2020.

Separate research from Comscore this month also found increasing OTT use, with Hispanic OTT households increasing 41% from March 2019 to March 2022, now reaching nearly 14 million homes.  

YouTube, Peacock most popular AVODs

YouTube and Peacock stood out as the most-used free streaming services for Latinx TV content viewers, according to Horowitz.

In terms of free streaming services Latinx viewers used most at least monthly, YouTube (free version) came in on top at 28%, followed closely by Peacock at 27%.

“Notably, Peacock offers content not just from NBC’s family of mainstream networks, but also has a wide array of content from Telemundo, one of the two leading Spanish-language broadcasters in the U.S.,” wrote Horowitz study authors.

Other popular free services were Tubi (22%), Pluto TV (19%), and The Roku Channel (18%).

The recent Comscore study also showed the popularity of YouTube, which nabbed second place for top 10 services among Hispanic OTT viewing homes. YouTube reached 71% of total OTT viewing homes, and accounted for 25% of OTT viewing hours. It came in only behind Netflix which had 85% reach and 27% of viewing hours. Peacock was among free services that made it into the top 10 in the Comscore study with 20% reach for Hispanic OTT households, but behind Tubi TV (24%), and ahead of PlutoTV (7% reach).

The big five streaming services are also the top SVOD subscriptions for Latinx content viewers according to Horowitz, including Netflix (49%), Amazon Prime Video (40%), Hulu (28%), Disney+ (31%) and HBO Max (31%)

Streamers grow Spanish-language offerings, work to do on quality

As streaming consumption continues to rise – both for Latinx viewers and overall - a variety of platforms have started to serve up offerings that cater to Spanish-language, bilingual and Latinx-themed content viewers.

For example, The Roku Channel last month launched a destination hub, Espacio Latino, geared toward U.S. Hispanic audiences that features a broad aggregated collection of Spanish-language programming.  YouTube TV in Mayadded a Spanish-language only plan along with add-on options. Horowitz Research also pointed to Pantaya, a popular Spanish-language SVOD service, which was recently acquired by TelevisaUnivision. In addition, the firm noted Peacock recently doubled down on commitments to the Latinx market with its Tplus blingual content hub in partnership with Telemundo.

Still, while there are more options out there, not everything is hitting the mark with audiences and it looks as though media companies have some work to do in terms of quality Spanish content.

The Horowitz report found that almost half (45%) of Latinx content viewers did not find Spanish content to be on par with the quality of English content – a sentiment the research firm said is likely to change moving forward as media companies continue investments in quality Latinx-themed content.

“We have always been bullish about the Spanish-language and Latinx-themed content space, but until recently, this audience was underserved and presented an opportunity that was not being fully realized,” said Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights & strategy lead for Horowitz Research, in a statement.

Waterson noted “a major barrier to its growth and evolution” was the fact that Spanish and English mainstream content and Latinx-themed content has been offered in silos instead of within the same channel or platform.

“The introduction of Spanish-language content within ‘mainstream’ platforms, starting with shows like Narcos, La Casa De Papel, and others on Netflix, has made media companies rethink their Latinx strategies,” Waterson continued. “We are excited to see what lies ahead.”