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Multicultural Viewers-Users Embrace New Technologies

In the run-up to the annual Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News Hispanic Television Summit on Oct. 22 in New York, a variety of data shows that Hispanics and other ethnic groups continue to lead the adoption of newer consumer technologies and distribution platforms, particularly in the mobile and over-the-top (OTT) space.

A recent survey from Horowitz Research, for example, shows that Hispanic Internet users are more likely than any ethnic group to watch video on an over-the-top platform. About 71% of Hispanic Internet users are weekly OTT users, vs. only 59% for whites; both African-Americans and Asian-Americans also over-index.

Nielsen data, which covers the entire Hispanic population rather than just Internet users, puts Hispanics slightly below the general market in usage of a multimedia streaming device such as Apple TV, with one hour and 45 minutes a week of usage vs. one hour and 54 minutes for the general market. But Hispanics spend more than twice as much time watching video on smartphones and nearly 31% more time using apps or mobile websites than the average American.

“We have been covering multicultural audiences [African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics] for two decades and in some ways the more things change the more they stay the same,” said Adriana Waterston, senior VP of insights and strategy at Horowitz. “These multicultural audiences always over-index and are on the cutting edge of new technology, particularly when it comes to entertainment technologies.”

While their data still shows that to be the case for African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic Internet users for OTT video and subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Waterston also notes that the gap between multicultural audiences and the general popular has shrunk based on numbers in their recent survey.

“While these audiences are still ahead, the gaps are closing,” she said, which raises “the big question of what is next? There isn’t data on this yet, but it will be interesting to see how things like 4K, the Internet of Things, virtual reality and other technologies play out. If history does repeat itself as it has for the last two decades, then these groups will be on the leading edge of those technologies as well. Technology companies who are developing those products will have to learn what the multichannel industry already has learned, namely that these groups will be their first and best customers.”