Spanish-Speaking Entertainment Domination
This rise in Spanish-speaking programming makes perfect sense if viewed alongside the growth of the Spanish-speaking population in America. In 1980, Spanish was the primary language being spoken in only 11 million households. Today, that number has grown to over 51.9 million, which represents the largest segment of the non-native speaking population by far. That Spanish-speaking media has garnered such high demand in recent years should not be surprising, either, given that this demographic has shown a tendency to spend on entertainment. According to information shared by the League of United Latin American Citizens, Latinos in the U.S. spend over $12 billion on entertainment each year.
While pay-tv providers such as DirecTV offer over 50 strictly Spanish-speaking channels, two networks have come to dominate this market: TELEMUNDO and UNIVISION. Of the two, TELEMUNDO was the first to offer Spanish-speaking programming in the American market. Started in 1954 in Puerto Rico, the network really began to gain momentum in 1986 when Reliance Group Holdings acquired the brand name and merged local Spanish-speaking networks in New Jersey, Florida, and California into one. The 80’s and 90’s saw it expand its footprint into other American markets before being purchased by Liberty Media and Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1998, and NBCUniversal in 2002. With Comcast purchasing a majority share of NBCUniversal in 2010, the cable TV giant also acquired control of TELEMUNDO. Today, the network is headquartered outside of Miami, FL, with a signal that reaches 99% of American households and whose broadcasting is currently syndicated in over 100 countries.