Hispanics in the Media “It’s Getting Better”

May 15, 2013 Author: Roy Eduardo Kokoyachuk

In the not too distant past, Hispanics were portrayed on TV and in the movies in roles that were less than glamorous… drug dealers, domestic help, cab drivers. That has changed considerably, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition has played a key role in that change. We talked to Alex Nogales, who heads up the NHMC, and asked where he thought things were heading.

Driven by the explosion in the growth of the Hispanic population (now nearly 17% of the total population), there’s general improvement on all fronts, Mr. Nogales reports. Hispanics are more positively portrayed on TV and in the movies, the percentage of Hispanics working in the media industry continues to grow, the major studio houses now “get it” and are making strides to align themselves with the Hispanic community.

The perception of Latinos in the media industry has changed dramatically, both in front of the camera as well as behind it. The Hispanic percentage of employees who work behind the camera in the major studios and TV networks has continually grown over the last decade. And while no one company has more than 7% Hispanic employees, that growth is moving steadily in the right direction.

“It’s about resources,” says Mr. Nogales. Going forward, more and more smart companies will jump in and build relationships and alliances with the Hispanic community. In return, these companies will find themselves connected to a very loyal group of consumers.

Mr. Nogales notes that as Hispanics continue to acculturate and as more of their children are raised and educated in the U.S., many will seek out English-language entertainment choices, and the market will adapt rapidly.

Univision recently announced a joint venture with ABC Networks scheduled to launch the second half of 2013 called Fusion that will merge news and lifestyle content for U.S. Hispanics in English. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a demise of Spanish language media, but the growth trends point towards a robustly bilingual future.