Spanish international networks have become widely popular in the US over the past few decades. Their growth has been influenced by the increase of the Hispanic population across the United States.
Spanish TV began half a century ago with the state broadcaster Television Espanola starting their first broadcasts. This occurred in 1956 and the broadcasts have spread widely ever since.
In 1972, color transmissions began to be tested which lead to all programming being transmitted in color from 1977. This was a huge step for Spanish broadcasters as they were moving towards being the leading mass media in the country.
Today, Spanish TV is a large part of the whole US broadcasting system with large network for customer services and enterprise media. Univision, launched in 1962 as a Spanish International Network, is now among the top largest US broadcast networks.
What caused such drastic rise of the Spanish TV were the immigration waves in the past four decades. Hispanic people who settled in the United States tend to keep their traditions through generations.
That way, Spanish language has been kept among the Latinos as their primary language. This significantly affected the broadcasting networks increasing the rates for Spanish TV.
Younger generations of Latinos speak primarily English but they grew up in an environment where only Spanish language was spoken.
They kept a part of their family's tradition through language which is now commonly used in the United States.
The Spanish TV played a huge role in all this since it was an inevitable part of every Latino household.
It provided TV channels including movies, telenovelas, sports as well as news programs. All these were fully in Spanish and no English was spoken whatsoever.
Hispanic population is contained in 17% of the whole US population counting about 54 million people. Considering the fact that Spanish is spoken across the whole region in the US, the spread of Spanish TV was inevitable. A study by the Pew Hispanic Trends Project, whose director is Mark Hugo Lopez, has shown that Latino immigrants tend to keep their traditions and language through generations which has lead to increased use of the Spanish media.
Ever since the immigration waves started back in the 70s, Hispanic people have found ways to connect to where they came from.
Their home country, language as well as tradition are of a high importance to them and their young generations.
Thus, Hispanic TV has become an important part of Latinos' childhoods where they were surrounded by telenovelas and Spanish speaking TV hosts. This way, TV influenced their language learning process quite effectively.
Spanish TV content is unique and designed to present as many Hispanic celebrities and entertainers as possible. Their TV programs often feature content you cannot find anywhere else.
The TV shows were made to fit the Latinos' taste as well as provide them with important info from Latino America and other parts of the US.
Most of the programs are imported from Brazil, Columbia and Venezuela but the biggest source of production is Mexico, known for a large number of hit movies and TV series.
Their programs are made to suite their culture, however, there are several American TV series featuring Hispanic people which get attention from that population.
Example being, the "Modern Family" made by ABC, featuring a Colombian Sofia Vergara as one of the characters in the series. The TV show had gained positive response from the Latino population with a count of 1.1 million people watching it.
However, the "Modern Family" cannot compete with the Spanish TV content and their original telenovelas where the total count of people watching is 3.3 million.
The reason behind this could be the fact that Sofia's character presents the Hispanic stereotype which non-Hispanics find funny. On the other side, Hispanics are not entertained by that fact.
This shows that even though Hispanics are being featured in US productions, nothing comes close to their culturally compatible TV content.
The second Spanish broadcaster is Telemundo owned by NBCUniversal. They feature programs relevant to the Hispanic nation and their interests. Non-Spanish programs are adapted for Spanish TV as well.
We can take as an example the NBC's show "The Voice" and the Spanish version "La Voz". Even though many programs have been adapted this way, they still cannot beat the traditional Hispanic TV. Many productions create Hispanic-themed English shows to try to boost the ratings.
However, even though they get quite popular they can never compete with Spanish language shows. Some of these attempts include the Liberman Broadcasting's Estrella TV and Noticias Mundo Fox as well.
All these productions have failed in trying to slow down the Spanish language programs. Hispanics are determined to keep their language spoken among all their generations and they are doing a great job.
The Hispanic population is expected to grow through 2020 and 2030 thus Spanish language media won’t be nearing the end any time soon.
All the attempts of slowing it down and taking over the views and ratings by various US broadcasters have shown no signs of complete success. The Spanish TV stands firmly for itself and no matter how many times they try to outdo it, they never seem to win.
Even though some Hispanic-themed English shows get some attention from the Latinos, they are mostly watched by the Americans entertained with the idea of the Hispanic stereotype.
Whereas, the original Spanish telenovelas portray the true values of their tradition and get a lot more views and attention.
This is not going to change any time soon in the future, judging by how things stand now.
The continuous waves of immigration and the growth of the Hispanic population are enabling the Spanish TV and media to flourish. Some Spanish networks such as Univision provide optional English subtitles which further increases their success.
Many non-Hispanics are interested in Spanish TV as well, for its original content which cannot be found elsewhere. The Hispanic immigrants are the only group of immigrants in the United States who have managed to keep their language throughout several generations which has highly affected their networks. On the flip side, the networks helped preserve the Spanish tradition and values. Popular US broadcasting networks are still trying to compete with the Spanish TV, despite the facts that they can never really come close to their original cultural content. But who knows, maybe sometimes in the future they win them over!