Survey Reveals Some Surprising Twists: Over Half of Foreign-born Hispanics Watch TV in English, While News and Political Shows Beat Telenovelas as the Preferred TV Format
Hispanics in the U.S. watch Spanish-language TV, right?
In a new survey, twice as many Hispanics said they prefer to watch in English and Spanish equally than those who said they prefer to watch in either language alone, regardless of whether they were raised in the U.S. or abroad. In fact, according to the survey by Miami-based Encuesta, Inc. – a leading U.S. Hispanic marketing research and public opinion polling specialist – over half of Hispanics born abroad watch TV in English, while almost three-quarters of those born in the U.S. watch Spanish-language broadcasts.
Another surprising finding shows that news and political programs – and not telenovelas – are the TV genre that U.S. Hispanics watch most.
“Marketers should take note,” says Lourdes Prado, Project Director at Encuesta, Inc. “This survey shows that it’s not a good idea to pigeonhole Hispanics into a target group that watches Spanish-language media and another that will be reached by general market advertising. If you fail to recognize TV viewing realities and the cultural complexities they reflect, you are likely to talk past the vast U.S. Hispanic audience instead of engaging it.”
The Encuesta survey, which is part of the Americanos Poll series, explored the television viewing habits of Hispanics, including time spent watching specific program formats. It also gathered opinions on 13 English- and Spanish-language television networks and on different aspects of programming in each language.
Among the study’s key findings:
- News programs/political talk shows are the format more Hispanics reported watching, followed by drama series and soap operas, or telenovelas. Game shows were least popular. Hispanics spend the most time on average watching drama series, soap operas, or telenovelas, in both English and Spanish.
- U.S.-born Hispanics are significantly more likely than their foreign-born counterparts to watch reality shows, shows on home improvement, cooking, crafts or travel, and sitcoms.
- Univision ranked first in the percentage of Hispanics assigning the network’s programming an “excellent” or “good” rating on a 4-point scale. Among U.S.-born Hispanics, Univision ranked highest (63%), tying with ABC, FOX, and NBC.
- In terms of amount and variety, as well as quality, only about half of Hispanics say English-language TV programming is “excellent” or “good.” The same proportion rated the amount and variety of Spanish-language programming as “excellent” or “good,” but a greater percentage (62%) spoke highly of its quality.
The findings are based on telephone interviews conducted by Encuesta, Inc., between April 6 and 13, 2006, with a representative national sample of n=335 Hispanic adults, in their choice of English or Spanish. The sample mirrors that population’s known distribution of demographic, acculturation, and media usage characteristics. The margin of error for the entire sample is approximately +/- 5.65%, with a higher margin of error for subgroups.
Encuesta, Inc., sponsors the Americanos Poll series to compare the U.S. Hispanic and general populations across a range of topics.