The United States has been experiencing a boom in its Hispanic population of almost 50 million since the 1990s. With this growth, there is a push for media to appeal to the growing Hispanic population. News outlets in all sectors are reevaluating how they are appealing to and addressing the growing Hispanic population, with new media sources now filling gaps that major media sources are missing, such as streaming and internet services. This gap not only highlights the change in demographics, but a shift in Hispanic culture, especially within the realm of Hispanic language.
This drastic growth in the Hispanic population is due to the frequent birth of Hispanics stateside. This shift is changing the way that traditionally Spanish publications and networks are addressing the Hispanic population. Stations like Univision and Telemundo are moving from solely Spanish productions toward incorporating English into their programming. Univision, which swore it would remain as Spanish only programming, has now started broadcasting with English subtitles. This change is occurring because of the shift in language among the Hispanic community. Many Hispanics now are bilingual or speak solely English.
These changes, however, are not helping ratings. Univision, the number one Spanish media outlet, lost $30.5 million in revenue and saw major job cuts at the end of 2016. The change in ratings is largely due to the current demographic of Hispanics. Many Hispanics are second or third generation as opposed to two decades ago when most of the America’s Hispanic population was made of immigrants, according to the latest census.
Additionally, the Latino population is the nation’s youngest ethnic group, the median age being 27 as opposed to 42 for non-Hispanic whites and 36 for non-Hispanic blacks. A study conducted by Pew Research shows that this generation is highly connected to the Internet and has easier access to information. Given this, changes are becoming evident in the American-Hispanic culture as time is progressing and cultural practices are beginning to spread throughout the population.
Because of this shift, we are seeing new publications that are taking on news and media, using social media to further their presence. The Latino media powerhouse, Mitú, and publications like Fusion are filling the gaps that mostly-broadcast focused Spanish media left open.
Mitú is a YouTube-based media outlet that creates content targeting the Latino community in the United States exclusively. It creates content that explores the lives of Latinos in America and focuses on topics such as fashion, beauty, entertainment, DIY, technology and comedy. The channel produces videos that focus on the Latino experience and culture in the United States, and has several viral videos under its belt such as Cholas Talk Chola Fashion and Abuela Pronounces Gringo Names.
Similarly, Fusion is a television channel that focuses on the Latino community and covers a wide variety of topics. In addition to the channel, its online publication covers topics ranging from politics and immigration to entertainment and technology. This company is a subsection of the Univision family and is Univision’s first push toward English-based in the hope of appealing to millennials.
The shift in the current media’s focus and the rise of new media shows is a direct result in the change in demographics; but, the creation of new media specifically geared to Hispanics has its own underlying problems.
While the new content and push to appeal to younger Latinos is important, it is the result of a larger lack in representation amongst major media outlets and publications. Additionally, the concerted effort to move toward English-based programming highlights the loss of language in Hispanic culture in the United States. The push marks the progress and shifts in American-Hispanic culture, but also shows a change from tradition and the step toward losing a language. Outlets must be cautious of the gentrification of media outlets as times progress, as with these changes also comes the loss of heritage.