In 2021, less than 60% of American households still had cable or satellite television. Almost 80% had a subscription to at least one streaming service, and the Latino demographic was a bit higher than the average with 80% of all households subscribing to at least one SVOD service.
A recent industry study found that 78% of American households subscribe to at least one SVOD service. The percentage is the same as in 2020 but up from 74% in 2019 and 59% in 2016. This trend has continued for more than a decade, and while an increase was expected going into 2021, that lack of progress may be explained by the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic. In fact, it is rather impressive that the number of households increased by 4% during the pandemic and that the number held.
There has been a great deal of change over the last five years. More American households are dropping traditional pay television services and turning to streaming services instead. Demographic breakdowns of the data reveal that nowhere has this trend been greater than among Latino households. As mentioned in the introduction, eight of 10 Latino households in America subscribe to at least one streaming service. Seven out of 10 subscribe to multiple services, and Latinos represent at least 20% and perhaps more of the overall American audience that watches streaming content.
The most likely explanation for the shift is that the SVOD streamers are better at meeting the demands of the average Latino viewer. This theory is supported by consumer research. Even among Latino viewers who prefer a more traditional TV experience, many feel that services like Sling TV, GoLatino TV, and fuboTV do a better job of delivering it for a multilingual household. Netflix, DisneyPlus and other major providers have also begun focusing on Spanish-speaking viewers and providing them with original movies and shows.
Whatever the reasons, Latinos have been among the fastest American groups to embrace streaming content and technologies. They are also the fastest when it comes to viewing this content through alternative devices, such as their phones and tablets. The average Latino home pays for four distinct services, and there is a high rate of homes that are multicultural and multigenerational, which may explain why Latino households have a higher average number than other American groups.
Demand is obviously high among Latinos who only speak Spanish. But what is interesting is that demand is just as high among bilingual and bicultural Latinos. Even among Latino households that consider themselves English dominant and acculturated, 30% subscribe to a service that provides them with Spanish-language content. There has been a boom in this particular area with more companies creating original Latino content rather than just dubbing content made for the general American audience.
Telemundo and Univision are the top networks among Latino viewers, and both have been integral to the trends discussed thus far. Despite developing their own streaming services, both have made their content available through a wide range of other providers, and that gives the Latino viewers more choices. Univision and Telemundo have also invested a great deal of money in original content, and that original content has made its way to services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.
During the pandemic alone, more than 20% of Latino households in America cut the cord. That is a staggering number. Streaming services have invested in this change and are now reaping the benefits. You can expect to see more high-quality Spanish-language films, shows, and documentaries in the years ahead, and we expect the growth of the Latino audience to continue trending up.