Remember back in the late 90s when the U.S. caught what was termed “Latin Fever?” Everyone was shaking their bom-boms to Ricky Martin’s latest hit and falling in love with JLo as she became an official triple threat. Latino media content was being consumed by the mainstream American public at breakneck speeds.
These days, Latinos are still on businesses minds—but this time, we’re the sought-after consumers.
Big and small businesses, advertisers and media networks have gotten hip to Latinos’ buying power. U.S. Latinos consume more media across all platforms than any other group in the U.S., making Latinos a highly coveted consumer market. This is big news! So big, in fact, that even 24-hour news network CNN hopped has on board the bandwagon, introducing the Spanish-language programming block, CNN Latino, to their lineup in January 2013.
With Telemundo and Univision catering towards the Spanish-speaking U.S. Latinos for years and English-speaking U.S. Latinos consuming their news via mainstream networks, some may wonder: Do we really need a CNN Latino?
CNN Latino would argue that, yes, we do. CNN Latino promises to set itself apart from other Spanish-language networks by developing diverse content that’ll reflect the different Latino communities and groups within the United States.
“We know perfectly well that we are not just targeting one group of people, one demographic,” CNN en Español vice president Cynthia Hudson told AFP. “Thinking that there is some one homogeneous community we are aiming at would just be a mistake. And that is the heart of our strategy.” As part of that strategy, CNN Latino will offer a “broad spectrum of programming covering news, lifestyle, documentary, talk and debate represents an alternative to traditional Hispanic networks.”
Okay, so CNN Latino is a younger, hipper and trendier alternative to the Telemundo and Univision’s programming, but why present the content to U.S. Latinos in Spanish? “As long as the majority of Hispanics are still speaking Spanish, Spanish will remain a growth opportunity for us,” explains Hudson. “We are seeing that new generations (of immigrants) want their kids to be bilingual. So Spanish isn’t disappearing, in fact, it’s growing.”
This much can be said for CNN Latino’s business model: It is novel. While other major news organizations are creating English-language media offshoots to attract American Latinos and expanding their networks across the country, CNN Latino seems to be taking a much more specific approach. CNN Latino is committed to reflecting young, diverse Latinos in the areas in which the programming block airs—in Spanish. No one else is doing that, per se.
CNN Latino is still very young and only airs in select cities including New York, Orlando, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Tampa, Phoenix and most recently, Miami. Only time will tell whether or not U.S. Latinos see the value in CNN Latino.
by Being Latino Contributor, Tanisha L. Ramirez