President & CEO of Pinta, multicultural marketing firm with clients such as Carnival, Dr. Seuss, Heineken, Microsoft, NFL Tecate & T-Mobile.

One of the most ubiquitous trends at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology is content streaming. It’s no secret that “over-the-top” services, also known as OTT, have been moving in a diametrically opposed direction to traditional media. As print newspapers and broadcast networks experience precipitous declines, streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others are enjoying exponential growth.

There’s a famous saying that goes something like “never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel,” which refers to the immense power of reporters and publishers. Today, the more accurate refrain might be “never compete with someone who has low-cost structure, unlimited inventory and provides consumers with total flexibility.” Interestingly, this trend is even more prevalent in the U.S. Hispanic market, where Latinos are over-indexing on all things digital.

According to a 2018 Nielsen research study, 52% of Latinos spend at least one hour per day on social media, compared to only 38% of non-Hispanic whites; and 24% of Latinos spend three or more hours per day on social, as compared to 13% for the broader general market. Furthermore, Latinos share social content at a rate five times greater than the general market. And this is not limited to younger generations, as Latinos older than 50 over-index the general market by 36% on owning several electronic gadgets.

According to a separate 2020 study by digital media firm H Code, 85% of Latinos listen to digital audio content and 90% stream music. Clearly the trendlines point to a bright future for technology companies engaging this captive and growing audience.

There are several platforms that have noticed and capitalized. Telemundo, owned by Comcast NBCUniversal, has a long history of competing in open-air broadcast with its flagship network, as well as a series of cable offerings. More recently, it’s begun winning big in streaming, with its own app Telemundo Deportes en Vivo, which offered over 1,500 hours of content for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and helped it break Spanish-language streaming records.

Combate Americas, a mixed-martial-arts league focused entirely on Latinos, has experienced great streaming success and generated millions of viewers for prelims, weigh-ins and post-fight commentary through Facebook Watch. (Full disclosure: Combate is a client of my marketing agency).

Lastly, Fanatiz is an OTT subscription service that carries exclusive streaming and on-demand rights for many soccer leagues across the globe, including fan-favorite LaLiga, and last year secured $10 million in Series A funding.

Given the data and thriving streaming platforms available, there are many opportunities for brands and agencies to capitalize on these trends:

• Advertise on them. Some OTT services are purely subscriber-based, but others are advertiser-friendly and allow brands to leverage their platforms to capture a truly engaged audience.

• Partner with them. In other cases, content creators now have an entirely separate revenue stream to exploit. Brands that create ownable content, or media companies that previously only had linear distribution, can now explore OTT companies as a second or third home for their intellectual property.

• Think like them. Most importantly, every business generation is defined by its most disruptive segments. The advent of radio embattled print newspapers; television replaced radio in the driver’s seat; cable threatened the three broadcast networks; and ultimately online media took its pound of flesh. Streaming appears to be the new wave of innovation that others would be wise to learn from.

According to an ancient Chinese proverb, “many a false step was made by standing still.” Legacy media and entertainment companies would be wise to heed this advice, and rapidly pivot to a world streaming into this diverse future. 

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