Nielsen Ratings System Includes Spanish TV Nielsen Media Research dispenses with a separate ratings system measuring the size of audiences for Spanish-language TV. That programming is now measured alongside the English-language programming of major networks and cable, enabling advertisers to compare the audiences.
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Nielsen Ratings System Includes Spanish TV

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Nielsen Ratings System Includes Spanish TV

Nielsen Ratings System Includes Spanish TV

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And while audiences may want more accurate depictions of Latinos on television, advertisers want more accurate information about Latino's watching television. Until now, the Nielsen ratings, which measure audience size, had two sets of national ratings: one for English and one more Spanish language programming. This week, in a move that shows just how popular and powerful Hispanic television has become, Nielsen Media Research announced that it will use one rating system. That means a telenovela on Univision can compete against "Ugly Betty" on ABC.

Brad Adgate is senior vice president at Horizon Media. He helps advertisers plan where to spend their dollars. Good morning.

Mr. BRAD ADGATE (Senior Vice President, Horizon Media): Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Well, we've hinted at it but give us more about why Nielsen decided to do this.

Mr. ADGATE: Well, I think the primary reason is that advertisers want a market to market - or rather apples to apples comparison. When you have one set of data that you can access ratings for, you can do a comparison of how many people are watching a telenovela on Univision versus "American Idol" or "Grey's Anatomy." So it does afford some sort of equal comparison or some level playing field that the Spanish-language networks are now going to have with the English-language networks.

MONTAGNE: And when Spanish-language was a niche, it, what, the numbers didn't compare?

Mr. ADGATE: Well, I think it was underserved by Nielsen. In 1992, only 9 percent of the population was Hispanics, but I think through the years Nielsen has expanded their sample. The population of Hispanics in this country has grown from 9 percent to 14 percent in the past 15 years. And there's been a lot more cable channel that are offering Spanish-language programming, the growth of Univision. This all has made this, I think, a necessary move by Nielsen.

MONTAGNE: And what does it mean for the Spanish-language networks? Is this a win or a loss, or some of both?

Mr. ADGATE: Oh, I think it's a win. I think that, you know, the popularity of Spanish-language programming continues to grow. On any given night, a telenovela on Univision will out deliver any ad-supported cable network; in some cases, the CW; and in some extreme cases, even one of the four major broadcast networks. So this is something that marketers and advertisers are going to look at.

MONTAGNE: Obviously, as you say, the Latino population is growing in the U.S. Is it numbers alone that makes this market desirable to advertisers?

Mr. ADGATE: Well, it is numbers but it's also - it's a younger median age. For instance, Hispanics have a median age of 26. They have a larger household size so they're buying more food, more clothing. The buying power is increasing. It's about $800 billion. It will continue to increase. All of these things are very appealing to advertisers.

MONTAGNE: Well, you know, with Nielsen Ratings, I wonder can we expect to see in the top 10 anytime soon Spanish-language shows?

Mr. ADGATE: Probably not. On a good night, a telenovela on Univision might throw over five million viewers. But when you think that "American Idol" just 28 million viewers and "CSI" 20 million viewers, it's probably not there yet.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much.

Mr. ADGATE: My pleasure.

MONTAGNE: Brad Adgate is senior vice president of the media planning and buying agency Horizon Media.

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