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Why Comcast (and Movie Studios) are Speaking More Spanish

Comcast is making a big push to expand the Spanish language programming on its video-on-demand platform.

The company is making hundreds of hours of Spanish-language TV shows, movies, sports and music videos available through video-on-demand, as well as through its new streaming video website. The site—part of its XfinityTV.com website—will allow Comcast users to log on to stream content from partners including Univision, Cine Mexicano, and Discovery Familia.

Comcast corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Getty Images
Comcast corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

With growing fragmentation of TV viewers , the need to capture Hispanic audiences—one of the largest groups in the US—is more pressing than ever. Hispanic audiences are a key subscriber base for Comcast in its markets including California, South Florida, Houston and Chicago.

Here's why Comcast and its rivals are investing in Hispanic viewers: there are 48.4 million Hispanics in the US, compared to about 37.2 million African Americans according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Spanish-language Univision often draws as many viewers in the key younger demographic as the broadcast networks. Sometimes it draws more. In November Nielsen projected another huge increase in Hispanic TV households, projecting that next season 40 percent of new TV homes will be Hispanic—a three percent increase for Hispanic homes.

Movie studios are also paying more attention to the Hispanic audience, which goes to the movies more than any other ethnic group according to the MPAA. A 2009 report finds that Hispanic moviegoers see more than 8 movies per year on average, and they're twice as likely as the total adult population to see a movie opening weekend.

Increasingly we're seeing movie ad campaigns targeted at Hispanics, and many of them are working. Recent hits including 'Black Swan' and Toy Story 3 marketed directly to Hispanics moviegoers. Universal's 2009 'Fast & Furious' was a hit thanks to significant Hispanic turnout Last fall Lionsgate turned its low budget film 'The Last Exorcism' into a big hit on the wings of a big Hispanic audience.

We can expect more films that incorporate Spanish and Hispanic themes and more marketing campaigns aimed exclusively at this audience goldmine.

**Disclosure: Comcast is the majority holder of NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC.

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