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Latino viewers heavily influence the popularity of streaming shows, a study finds

Latinos represent roughly 19% of the U.S. population. Yet a Nielsen study shows they account for 42% of the country's most-watched content on streaming services.
courtesy Nielsen
Latinos represent roughly 19% of the U.S. population. Yet a Nielsen study shows they account for 42% of the country's most-watched content on streaming services.

A new study from Nielsen finds that Latino viewers not only love to watch shows on streaming platforms, but they also influence which are the most popular.

Researchers looked at 530 shows that streamed in 2021 and the first part of 2022 in English and Spanish. The study found nearly half of the shows considered the most "bingeable" had Latinos in front of and behind the cameras, as writers, directors and producers.

"I think that's a really important marker for how Latinos are influencing America's most watchable entertainment," says Stacie de Armas, Senior Vice President at Nielsen.

The study shows that Latino-led content attracted new viewers to streaming platforms, and then they stayed to watch other shows.

Selena Gomez, co-star and  executive producer of <em>Only Murders In The Building</em>.
Amy Sussman / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Selena Gomez, co-star and executive producer of Only Murders In The Building.

"It's important to have Latinos on camera," says de Armas. "But if you also add behind the camera, look at how much higher your binge ability becomes. So it becomes a business case for media companies that are looking to acquire content."

She points to the popularity of Hulu's mystery-comedy Only Murders in the Building. Selena Gomez not only co-stars but is one of the executive producers of the show.

Latinos represent 19% of the U.S. population, de Armas says, yet they account for 42% of the country's most-watched content on the streamers. And she says they account for many new subscribers to streaming platforms.

The study shows Latino audiences enjoy crime dramas and 20% of viewers felt best represented by comedies. De Armas says the finding is interesting "because if you look to comedy, actually representation is pretty low on screen," adding there's more work to be done on all fronts.

Juan Javier Cardenas, Olivia Goncalves, Savannah Nicole Ruiz and Diana Maria Riva from the HBO Max series <em>Gordita Chronicles</em>.
JC Olivera / Getty Images,
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Getty Images,
Juan Javier Cardenas, Olivia Goncalves, Savannah Nicole Ruiz and Diana Maria Riva from the HBO Max series Gordita Chronicles.

"I'm curious, as a researcher, about the social science around this," she adds. "How does this perhaps influence identity formation of Latinos and other people's perception of Latinos?"

The study also showed that among the most popular recent shows for Latino viewers was HBO Max's Gordita Chronicles (the coming-of-age comedy about a young Dominican woman in Miami was canceled after its first season).

"It did attract a significant amount of new viewers to the platform just for that show," says de Armas. "Once they came to the platform, they watched Gordita Chronicles. They binged it. They stayed on the platform after the premiere and watched more content. And in fact, about 78,000 or 57% of that new audience was Hispanic."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.