Guest blog by Aaron M. Sanchez
This Sunday at the Produced By Conference, there was a panel, "Increase your opening weekend box office: How the Hispanic audience can make all the difference." The panel consisted of John Fithian, President and CEO of National Associaton of Theater Owners; Gail Heaney, a Media Consultant; Roberto Orci, Executive Producer/Writer/Director; and Ray Ydoyaga, Executive VP of Nielsen NRG.
Although Hispanics represent 17.5% of the population, according to Univision's Peter Filaci, Hispanics contribute 19% of the U.S. box office revenue, and are 10% more inclined to see a movie on opening weekend more than any non-Hispanic. According to John Fithian, they see an average of 6 movies a year more than any other ethnicity with an average of 4 movies a year. It was mentioned that Hispanic audiences over-index in all of the reported indexes. For example, they prefer a better movie going experience with IMAX and even the newer luxury style themed theaters. They will also spend more in concessions than other nationalities on average, including alcohol purchases, where they have a higher profit margin.
Roberto Orci showed a trailer of his latest project "Matador," a TV series premiering on El Rey Network about a soccer player by day and spy at night. It was commented on that El Rey Network is targeting the English speaking audience of the Hispanic market. Although much of the discussion was serious, when it was announced that Hispanics are also more technically savvy than what was previously known according to their reports, Roberto Orci replied with "I have a bionic penis!" which met the room with laughter. While much attention has been steered towards social media making an impact on movie attendance, it was noted that Hispanics are 26% more likely to share their thoughts about movies on social media than non-Hispanics.
It was remarked by Ray Ydoyaga of Nielsen NRG that their studies were commissioned by Disney in order to get a proper snapshot of their audiences. In his research he has concluded that Hispanics are the "most valuable" and "most avid" moviegoers.
Will these numbers mean a larger focus as we've seen a bit of a shift in the industry? Will it mean a larger presence behind and in front of the camera in Hollywood? Time will tell, but if there were any indicators by those in attendance at this conference, the answer is an absolute yes at least in the indie world.
Aaron M. Sanchez is an Entertainment Reporter and Host of LIVE with Aaron and Kelly on NBC News Radio KCAA 1050AM. Follow on Twitter and Facebook.