Latinos and Media Usage Revisited

I wasn’t surprised when almost a year ago, Pew Research released a report showing that more people were getting their news online than from print newspapers. Nor was I surprised when last November, Google modified its algorithm to show timelier results, affecting about 35 percent of all searches. A clear response to Facebook and Twitter, whose seconds-old updates were challenging Google’s role as the king of search.

These are clear examples of how the media environment is changing at a dramatic speed. The shift is not linear; consumers are not simply changing their media preferences. This behavior shift also affects what consumers expect from the media, not just which media they use more often.

Newspaper News Is Old News

Latinos are experiencing a media shift of their own. Similar to the general population, there’s a decreasing interest in traditional media (especially newspapers) as a main source of information. Though the Latino shift is more dramatic: only 21 percent of Hispanics read a newspaper most days versus 30 percent of the total population, according to Experian Simmons.

As you can see on the chart below, newspapers are not only losing credibility overall but also in a key area: local news.


It’s clear that the Internet is stealing audience from newspapers. Forty-two percent of Hispanics said that they get more of their news from the Internet.

Radio has also been affected, but interesting to note, TV still plays a key role. Take a look at the media Latinos rely on to keep themselves informed: TV – 42 percent, radio – 27 percent, and newspapers – 23 percent.

Latinos don’t simply like to get facts. They want an interactive news experience. Bloggers and social media feeds have outpaced regular newspapers as a source for news, by offering personalized content with the ability to comment and share.

In Search of Entertainment

When it comes to information overall, the Internet is the main destination for 53 percent of Hispanics. No surprise here. What’s surprising is that more than 40 percent of Hispanics agree that the Internet has increased their desire to learn new things. While we normally think of the Internet as the destination for news and entertainment, for Latinos it’s become the place to learn, expand and improve skills, feed their curiosity, and, of course, share with friends and family. What about entertainment?

When it comes to entertainment, TV (42 percent) is the main destination for Latinos, followed by the Internet (25 percent), and radio (22 percent). Yet, Hispanics spend 37 percent fewer hours watching TV versus non-Hispanic whites.

Radio is still the preferred medium of choice for Spanish-preferred Latinos. More than 50 percent of Hispanics have listened to Spanish radio stations, twice the time they visited Spanish websites or read a Spanish newspaper.

On the other end, young Latinos (18 to 24 years old) are twice as likely to consider the Internet as their main source of entertainment compared to older Latinos.

The imperious need for ubiquity continues to grow. Hispanics are 40 percent more likely than the general population to watch video (or TV) on the Internet or a cellphone versus on a regular television screen. Also, they over-index by 70 percent in watching TV on their smartphones or tablets.

Last but not least, the social factor is key. Latino consumers are more than three times likely to check, via social media networks, what programs their friends are watching.

Advertising Ain’t What It Used to Be

Even though Latinos still have a more positive attitude toward advertising versus the general population, there’s a declining trend as seen on the chart below.


Traditional advertising is losing ground when it comes to influence purchase. Hispanics are relying more on the Internet and mobile. Peer-to-peer recommendation is becoming more and more important as Latinos continue to lead the mobile web. According to Mintel, Latinos are more likely to click on banner ads on video sites compared to any other demographic.

Product placement is still well perceived by Latinos. They are more likely to be influenced by brand/product placement and more prone to buy a brand that they have been exposed to in a TV show. This is true even among bicultural Hispanics.

An interesting trend to watch is the growing penetration of DVR use. It has almost tripled since 2006: 32 percent of Latinos have one. The impact on advertising is critical: 86 percent of Hispanic DVR owners fast forward through the commercials.

Media Moving Forward

What will happen in the future, no one knows. What’s clear is the shift in how Latinos consume media.

Digital newspapers and social influencers are taking over print. Hispanics are willing to dedicate more time to learn, thus decreasing the interest in news overall.

Radio still plays a critical role for Spanish-preferred Latinos both for news and entertainment.

Latinos’ positive attitude toward advertising is decreasing as a consequence of DVR growth.

The Internet and mobile have outpaced traditional advertising in terms of influence. Latinos’ social nature: peer-to-peer influence not only affects purchases but also TV viewing choices.

The Internet continues to redefine media. Latinos are heavily reliant on TV as their entertainment source; the Internet allows enjoyment anytime and anywhere. At the same time, the Internet has created a new space for exploration. Latinos use the Internet to learn and discover new things while feeding their curiosity for new stuff and, of course, sharing it on the go.

Related reading

Website landing page vector graphic