Many probably still remember a time not too long ago, before the era of satellite and digital cable services was ushered in, when old rabbit-ear antennae televisions were the mainstay in American living rooms. You could probably count on one hand the number of television signals these now-antique sets were able to pick up, and that, of course, was only if the string of tin foil connecting the antennae were positioned just right. Back then, the idea of foreign-language TV in America may have seemed laughable. Oh how the times have changed.
The Rise in Foreign-Language TV Networks
In mid-2014, it was reported that the average American household receives 189 channels through either their digital cable or satellite dish providers. Thanks largely in part to this abundance of TV viewing options, American adults spend upwards of 35 hours per week watching television. Among this sea of TV networks are a growing number of foreign-language channels. Comcast, DirecTV, and DISH Network, America’s three largest pay-tv providers, currently offer channels in Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Vietnamese. Noticeably absent from that list is Spanish. Yet this isn’t due to a lack of demand for Spanish-speaking programming. On the contrary, the size of this particular market segment has grown so large in recent years that Spanish-speaking TV has warranted its own subcategory with TV providers.