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Latinos' Entertainment Consumption Growing

18 Mar, 2004 By: Judith McCourt

Latino buying power will surpass the $1 trillion mark in the United States by 2008, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, and the U.S. Latino population (estimated at 40 million) has an increasing appetite for entertainment.

Between 1996 and 2001, Latino household income rose from $27,449 to $34,361, a 25 percent increase, according to the Selig Center. This compares to an 11 percent increase in non-Latino households, where the average household income climbed from $35,585 to $39,518.

The same study shows that the average household spending on entertainment increased more rapidly for Latino households. In the same five-year period, Latino household spending jumped by 13.6 percent, to $1,246 per household. By comparison, non-Latino household consumption for entertainment spending edged up 3.6 percent, to $1,953 annually.

Seventy percent of all Latino households have DVD playback capability, and that's just a part of their entertainment profile. A recent survey of U.S. households conducted by Video Store Magazine in February and March of this year pointed to the expanding integration of household entertainment options among Latinos.

Latino households are game players, with 42 percent owning a game console. Forty-seven percent of English-dominant households in the survey said they own game units, which is on a par with all U.S. households. Spanish-dominant households were less likely to have game consoles, with just one-third saying they owned one.

Plasma screen and home theater systems are also part of the Latino home entertainment hardware landscape. Almost half of English-dominant Latino households surveyed said they have a home theater system, and 16 percent said they owned plasma screens. Spanish-dominant households trailed, with just 21 percent saying they had a home theater system and 11 percent saying they owned plasma screens.

While hardware adoption rates in English-dominant Latino households are on a par with households at large, subscriptions to ancillary entertainment services such as cable and satellite lag the national average. Of all U.S. households surveyed by Video Store Magazine, 64 percent said they subscribe to cable and 28 percent to a satellite service. By comparison, 53 percent of all Latino households are connected to cable service and 22 percent are satellite subscribers.

When it comes to PCs, 67 percent of Latino households said they have one, and of those households 77 percent are connected to the Internet. English-dominant households are more likely than their Spanish-dominant counterparts to own a PC (76 percent) and, of those households, 81 percent are connected to the Internet.

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