Amelia Gomez|Apr 21, 2015

The end of an era is nigh for many Hispanics after Univision announced that its 53-year-old Saturday variety show Sabado Gigante will be signing off in September 2015.

Hispanics, including myself, have fond memories of watching Sabado Gigante. I remember sitting on my grandmother’s living room floor every Saturday, eating a home-cooked meal and laughing at every move made by the great Don Francisco and his sidekicks.

It would be an understatement to say that the show will be missed, but it is also a sign of a great shift taking place in Hispanic media – a focus on reaching the almighty “millennial” audience.

Historically, Sabado Gigante has been most popular with seniors, middle-aged women and children, but its viewership in the 19-to-32 age demographic has been on a steady decline since 2005. Although Univision has not confirmed their reasons for waving Sabado Gigante goodbye, the show’s inability to engage the growing millennial audience may have been a factor.

The median age of the average U.S. Hispanic consumer is 27, younger than the median age for white, black and Asian-American populations. Hispanics also make up more than a fifth of the millennial generation, which will pass the baby boomers to become the largest U.S. population cohort this year.

As you can imagine, brands are seeing an immense opportunity and investing money every which way they can to attract this growing audience, which has been cleverly labeled as “Hispennials.”

But how exactly can brands do that, in a way that Sabado Gigante couldn’t?

Last month, while attending Hispanicize, a popular conference targeted at Hispanic journalists, bloggers and marketers, I sat in on a market trends panel that shared interesting insights on how marketers are reaching “Hispennials.”

  • Segmentation vs. Total Market: There is no one size fits all approach anymore. Millennials are an incredibly diverse group, and brands need to determine who exactly they are trying to reach – all the way down to their targets’ life stage, political beliefs, technology habits, food preferences and shopping behavior. For a message to resonate with Hispanics specifically, brands need to consider all of the above plus their (or their family’s) country of origin.
  • Se Habla Ingles: Young Hispanics are significantly more acculturated than their older relatives. “Hispennials” are traditionally bilingual, with a strong connection to their Hispanic and American roots. (This also means that not all messages for this demographic need to be in Spanish.)
  • Mobile Mania: I don’t think it comes as a surprise that millennials spend most of their time on their phones and tablets, but Hispanics also dominate statistics when it comes to mobile usage. Many of the brands at the Hispanicize panel spoke about digital ads, blogger and online reviews, and digital influencers as key to organically communicating a message and developing authentic conversations about their brands.

So, while we all bid adieu to the sensational, wacky and incredibly fun ride that was Sabado Gigante, it looks like Univision may be doing some soul searching. It will be interesting to see what direction the network takes to adapt to the younger, more engaged and socially connected “Hispennial.”


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