A lot has changed since Hispanic Heritage Month, which started as the Hispanic Week, was created in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. The Hispanic population continues to boom dramatically, and so does the presence of Latinos in the cable workforce, programming and industry initiatives.
“The cable industry always has been a mirror on our society – from the composition of our workforce, to the diversity of our programming, and to the many ways in which we relate to the communities we serve,” said Walter Kaitz Foundation executive director David Porter.
In recent years, multi-ethnicity, including Hispanics, is slowly increasing in executive- and mid-level management positions in cable, according to NAMIC’s studies. Cable has also “moved from a follower to a leader, in working to better serve the Latino community and to enhance the lives of Hispanic consumers” in the last couple of years, Porter said. That’s fitting with this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month theme, “Serving and Leading Our Nation with Pride and Honor.” Next month, the industry will get more data on cable’s progress as NAMIC releases its biennial AIM Survey, which was underwritten and supported by the Walter Kaitz Foundation.
The diversity objectives for the industry, through the Kaitz Foundation and NCTA, include “paving the way for more Latinos and people of color to reach the boardroom and the executive suite; encouraging deeper engagement for people of color in producing, creating, and appearing in great content; ensuring that we pursue aggressive outreach to establish relationships with diverse industry suppliers; and molding an inclusive and nurturing workplace that embraces diverse individuals and provides them every opportunity to advance and succeed,” Porter said.
At Comcast, Latino viewership is on the rise, especially for On Demand content: This year alone, VOD viewership among Xfinity Latino customers is up more than 50% YOY. “We feel this trend will surely continue,” said Ruben Mendiola, general manager of multicultural services, which was formed 2 years ago. “To really be relevant, there’s a need for good Hispanic talent and Hispanic executives as part of the mix of any company.” Comcast is currently featuring “Xfinity Freeview Latino,” a 2-week pass to more than 1,000 hours of free Latino entertainment programs in both Spanish and English.
Other programmers and operators joined in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have contributed to the nation and society. Time Warner Cable is offering Digital TV customers a collection of acclaimed films celebrating Hispanic culture on Movies On Demand. Discovery Kids en Español is taking a historical approach to Hispanic Heritage Month, airing a series of short programs that feature the lives of four Latin American heroes that fought for freedom: General Simon Bolivar, Benito Juarez, Francisco de Paula Santander, and Jose Marti. Mun2, the English-language net will showcase personal success stories of Latinos who are changing politics, culture and business in the US.