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Hispanic TV Summit: Comcast's X1 Gives Hispanics Choice

Complete Coverage: NYC TV & Video Week

While media companies scramble to reach Hispanics, their best bet is to deliver a range of content in both Spanish and English – and let consumers decide what they want to watch, Comcast execs said Thursday.

“We need to realize that 80% of the 55 million Hispanics (in the U.S.) are really bicultural,” said Javier Garcia, Comcast Cable’s senior VP and general manager of multicultural services.  

Speaking at the Hispanic TV Summit, part of NewBay Media’s NYC TV & Video Week, Garcia and José Vélez-Silva, VP of multicultural marketing, said bicultural consumers, particularly those who are millennials, prefer choice over offerings many media companies think Latinos want, such as all Spanish-language programming.

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In turn, Comcast last year launched its X1 platform to put the decision of whether to watch content in English or Spanish in viewers' hands, they said. 

An interface that allows subscribers to switch between languages, X1 allows, for example, a Hispanic-American mom to watch TV in English, but have her children watch kids shows in Spanish so they can learn the language. With a bilingual, voice-activated remote, the platform also lets grandma – who perhaps speaks no English at all – turn on her favorite shows when she comes to visit.

X1 offers content from network programming, and sports to movies in English and Spanish (or at least with Spanish subtitles) both live and on-demand.

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The service also provides programming targeting Hispanic viewers that isn’t necessarily found on English-language TV. By providing offerings that resonate with viewers such as live soccer and Olympics programming from Latin American countries, regardless of what language they air in, the product fosters a connection with consumers, Vélez-Silva said.

“Sometimes we focus too much on the features,” he said. “And for many brands, what they are doing is losing the human connection.

“You need to create a bond,” he said.

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Vélez-Silva said offering Hispanic consumers that deeper experience has far more value than making a Spanish-language version of a product for English speakers could.

“This is the reality of what the Hispanic community is all about,” Vélez-Silva said. “Our product mirrors the reality of a Spanish-speaking household.”