Why Hispanics are signing up for skinny bundles

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U.S. Hispanics as a group are more likely to be interested in and subscribe to "skinny bundles," the streamlined video content services offered by media companies and content distributors as an alternative to traditional cable and satellite TV subscriptions.

According to insights gleaned from the Simmons New Media Study and presented in Ad Age's Hispanic Fact Pack 2018, 34.4 percent of Hispanic adults online subscribe to a skinny bundle—nearly three times the percentage of non-Hispanics.

Hispanics and TV skinny bundles
More than one-third (34.4 percent) of Hispanic online adults subscribe to at least one skinny bundle, a slimmed-down package of TV channels. By comparison, just 12.2 percent of non-Hispanics subscribe to a skinny bundle.
Source: Simmons Research (simmonsresearch.com). Data based on Simmons New Media Study, Fall 2017, for the dates of Oct. 24, 2016, through Nov. 29, 2017. Base: Online adults who are skinny bundle subscribers.

Skinny bundles, designed to appeal to those with lower discretionary income and those fed up with expensive monthly cable bills, are also attractive to consumers not afraid to cut the cable cord. There are several likely factors suggesting why Hispanics are among them, says Tamara Barber, senior manager of custom solutions for Simmons Market Research. The U.S. Hispanic population is younger than the non-Hispanic population overall, so it's likely, she says, that there's a higher percentage who are subscribing to a video service for the first time and aren't tied to a traditional cable service.

But while online Hispanic adults average 37-years -old—compared to 46 years for non-Hispanic adults, according to the fall 2017 Simmons study—and half of online Hispanic adults are between the ages of 18- to-34, the over-indexing on skinny bundles is true across age groups. That reflects an overarching theme: Hispanic households are heavier consumers of media overall. "They have a thirst for media, and are a heavily engaged media audience," Barber says. In addition, "this is a group used to picking and choosing services, rather than subscribing to the whole thing."

Some of the skinny bundle services, like Alphabet's YouTube TV, include Spanish-language networks in basic packages; others offer Spanish-language add-ons for as little as $4 or $5 a month on top of the basic skinny bundle price.

Barber is not surprised by the interest. It reflects an ongoing trend among Hispanics to be not only heavy media consumers but also early movers on new technologies. And if they like it, they're all in.

For instance, 80 percent of Hispanics overall say they play video games on a device—whether a computer, mobile device or console. That number is consistent with the U.S. population as a whole. But when Simmons took a look at Hispanic consumers who are online and have played on a gaming console, those individuals over-index on using the console for other purposes: streaming movies or TV shows and accessing user-generated content.

"What we have seen over time is that if there's a technology device that's multifunctional, Hispanics are going to be the first movers," Barber says.

As smartphones became ubiquitous, their high price point might have put off some Hispanic consumers. But among those who bought smartphones, she says, "they really, really used them, and took advantage of the multifunctionality of that device."

Hispanics spend dramatically more time on their smartphones texting, listening to music, playing video games, video chatting and using the internet, Simmons has found.

Barber says this reaffirms "what we've seen but something that marketers need to see the numbers on: Hispanics should be looked to as people who are going to be ... trendsetters in the media marketplace."

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