Apple Sings iTunes in Spanish2 Nov, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf
The launch last week of iTunes Latino follows the trend of entertainment companies reaching out to the fastest-growing population in the United States.
Apple's dominating download service has teamed to bring several popular Spanish-language TV programs from Telemundo and bilingual programming from its Latino youth network, mun2.
It's the first Latino TV “network” on Apple's 40-network strong download store. It kicked off with prime placement last week at iTunes. The service, which highlights new acquisitions, put all the content descriptions and information in the new area of the site in Spanish.
The Latino content selection launched with two telenovelas from Telemundo, “Pasion de Gavilanes” and “El Cuerpo del Deseo,” along with Telemundo show “Decisiones” and the mun2 reality show “The Immigration Special.”
More content will be added in the coming months, all priced at the standard $1.99 per episode, Apple reported.
“Partnerships like these are all about our viewers and following their needs,” said Don Browne, president of Telemundo.
Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the country with 42.7 million people, according to the United States Census bureau. It's a demographic with $700 billion in disposable income, a figure expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2008, according to The Selig Center for Economic Growth.
That market is also prime for electronic delivery of entertainment.
English-speaking Latino homes outpaced Caucasian homes by 11% in broadband usage compared to last year, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, released this spring. Among English-speaking Latinos, broadband usage increased 46%, compared to 35% among white (non-Latino) users.
The iTunes deal offers an awareness boost for Latino content, said Leigh Savidge, president and CEO of Xenon Pictures. “For products that we have the rights to, this is a very good thing,” he said. “At this point, in the development of distribution, [digital downloading] helps the overall initiative. It helps the awareness of the content.”
It is good thing that Apple is taking notice of Latinos, agreed Gabriel Vicuna, product manager for First Look Home Entertainment's Studio Latino division. “Usually, we're the last to be brought on board,” she said. “It's nice to be part of the process in the beginning.”
However, the limited content from just one provider will keep things slow for a while, he said. “Hopefully, it will help establish something so other sites will also launch and offer Latino downloads,” Vicuna said.
“The younger, acculturated Latino is just as tech savvy as every other young kid. They are online; they are on the computer.”