27 JAN 2022

Is on-screen diversity improving for Latinx viewers?

With conversations about race, cultural diversity, and inclusion front and center in society, Latinx audiences expect to see even more diversity now in media than ever before, according to Horowitz Research.

Share

With conversations about race, cultural diversity, and inclusion front and center in society, Latinx audiences expect to see even more diversity now in media than ever before, according to Horowitz Research’s latest “Focus Latinx: Consumer Engagement 2021” report.

Two thirds (64%) of Latinx consumers surveyed feel the media plays a big role in helping change stereotypes and negative opinions different groups have of each other. The study — which covers topics including how Latinx viewers perceive the amount and quality of Latinx representation in scripted entertainment and news coverage — underscores that mainstream media still has a way to go when it comes to fulfilling the mandate to be more inclusive of Latinx and other diverse communities.

Latinx viewers seek television shows and movies that speak to their culture and experiences in a relatable way. The study found that diversity in lead actors and having positive portrayals of diverse communities are both major drivers for choosing to watch a show or movie, with six in ten Latinx — and seven in ten younger Latinx viewers — saying this would make them more likely to watch.

At the same time, four in ten Latinx feel they are seeing more positive portrayals of Latinx characters and communities in scripted TV shows. However, almost half say that what they are seeing in scripted content is the same or worse than they were before. Similarly, over four in ten feel that coverage of Hispanic/Latinx communities and people in the news has improved, but a similar percentage of Latinx feel things have not changed or have gotten worse when it comes to news coverage.

Regarding platforms, Latinx viewers surveyed have the most favorable opinions of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, followed by Hulu, when it comes to perceptions of how diverse talent are showcased in their content, compared to traditional broadcast and cable brands.

“These data underscore a major challenge that media brands are running into when it comes to their diversity efforts. Many traditional, mainstream media brands have started to be more thoughtful about building cultural, racial, ethnic, and lifestyle diversity into their content, but it’s not necessarily a case of ‘if you build it, they will come’ immediately. Multicultural audiences, especially Latinx audiences, are leaning heavily into streaming, and viewing in the streaming space is still dominated by the main streaming players,”  explained Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer and Insights & Strategy Lead at Horowitz.

“Building awareness and driving viewership of any new shows on linear TV or in the new streaming services from mainstream media companies will require an investment in consumer marketing and promotion, and a willingness to give those shows time to build a fan base. This is difficult for media companies whose ad sales hinge on delivering strong viewership numbers right away,”  Waterston added.

The report also discovered that demand for Spanish-language content remains strong. In fact, 66% Latinx consume at least some of their media — including TV, radio, internet, and social media — in Spanish, including two in three Latinx 18-34.