There are over fifty million Hispanic Americans — nine million in the state of Texas alone. Yet this fast-growing, digital media hungry audience has only recently caught the attention of big-name brands and TV Networks. At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Latino entrepreneurs are talking about real ways to create content that speaks to the Hispanic audience.
- Listen to the KERA FM radio report:
You don’t have to turn the dial back to the 1960s to find stereotypical representations of Latinos that don’t resonate with the younger generation. Yashoda Sampath, a researcher at Huge Digital Ad Agency, says just look at Sofia Vergara’s character on ABC’s “Modern Family.”
That might work with the older generation, but research shows it does not work with young Latinos. And since young Latinos are more likely than the general population to be online, to visit video sharing sites and to try new technologies, what they like matters.
So what does works? Sampath says more nuanced messages of bi-culturalism. One new video site is hitting the target. It’s called MiTú, and it is is a Latino lifestyle network on YouTube Barely a year old, the site already has three million subscribers.
MiTú’s president and founder, Beatriz Acevedo, says you won’t find the typical Spanish Soap Opera — the telenovela — on this network. The most popular videos are culturally relevant “how-to” videos. Whether its how to raise a bilingual child, stay fit during pregnancy, or how to cook kale tamales.
“Those types of videos would be hard to find other places,” Acevedo says.
And functional videos resonate particularly well with Texas Latinos. Texas viewers racked up over a million visits to the site in February alone. And it turns out Tejanos aren’t just watching videos on the channel, they’re producing them.
One Texas blogger who recently partnered with MiTú’s Armando Rayo. The self-described “taco journalist” already has a channel on Youtube, but says he wanted to join forces with MiTú because the producers there understand his unique latino style.
“I was born and raised here in Texas, I’m Mexican at heart but Tejano by birth so that experience is my own bicultural experience..you won’t see me watching novelas, but you will see me watching the daily show,” Rayo says.
Rayo makes artsy videos in Spanglish featuring Texas Taqueros and taco-lovers alike. He’s handing out colorful maps of the best taco stops in town during the conference.
In the past, Rayo’s been disappointed by a lack of Latino entrepreneurs at South by Southwest. But this year they’re definitely in the lineup. And he says, conference goers seem hungry for change.
Check out the full interview with Armando Rayo of TacoJournalism: