Moms, Kids Key to Discovery Familia’s Content Strategy

Network Carves Niche by Appealing to Children and Their Caregivers

It’s no secret that Latinas, and in particular Hispanic moms, are in high demand among marketers seeing to achieve strong ROI.

As noted by Nielsen in its August 2013 Latina Power Shift report, Hispanic women are expected to comprise 30% of the total U.S. female population in roughly 45 years. Concurrently, the non-Hispanic white female population is expected to drop to 43%. At the same time, Latinas for the first time are exceeding non-Hispanic women in college enrollment, Nielsen reports.

Therefore, Hispanic women are already in the driver’s seat and will continue to hold sway over household buying habits and purchasing decisions. Hispanic women tend to be younger on average than non-Hispanic women. As a result, marketers have a strong opportunity to target this segment of consumers with not only products and services of interest to them, but also for their children. Latinas will also remain more likely than non-Hispanic women to consume a wide range of CPGs, including laundry detergent, paper goods and health and beauty aids.

Discovery Communications took note of this trend nearly four years ago, when the company merged its Discovery Familia and Discovery Kids en Español brands into a single network that features Spanish-language fare targeting preschool-aged children from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and family-friendly adult programming from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The move has paid off for Discovery, with Discovery Familia presently ranking as the top Spanish-language pay TV network among children aged 11 and under when its kids programming is on the air.

Bilai J. Silar, vice president and content director for Discovery U.S. Hispanic Networks, is proud of what she said is Discovery Familia’s unique position in the Hispanic market.

“Our content strategy is squarely focused on moms and kids, and the multigenerational household,” she said. “This resulted in becoming a bit more focus on the Hispanic mom, who we realized was underserved by Hispanic television.”

Silar and her team looked at three key areas for building out Discovery Familia’s daytime and after-dark slates -- what appeals to Hispanic preschool children, how the programming reflects their home environment and how Hispanic moms view themselves.

Research found that Hispanic moms seek out ways for their young children to learn Spanish as they are learning English. “During the daytime hours, it became apparent that it was so important for the Hispanic mom to keep the language alive and vibrant with their children, especially with the preschoolers. There are not a lot of options for curriculum-filled entertaining content for this audience, and we set out to fill it.”

Discovery Familia acquires most of its pre-school content, while its adult-focused programming includes co-produced shows from its sister Latin American networks and selections dubbed into Spanish selected from the Discovery Channel’s vault.

“We have shows that focus on parenting and health, and that’s a void that we are filling,” Silar said.

Discovery Familia is also airing dubbed versions of such shows as Nanny 911 and Family SOS with Jo Frost.

Keeping a hyperfocus on the educational value of the Discovery Kids en Español programming block was imperative for Silar. “We found that many kids may not be going to early learning centers,” she notes. “They could be home with their caregivers watching this programming.”  This led Silar’s team to examine one important viewer insight: The adult in the room was just as valuable as the child who was watching the program -- especially in terms of marketing appeal.

Thus, advertisers seeing every member of the multigenerational Hispanic household may wish to consider a buy that includes DOKI, a new animated series featuring a character who has blossomed in popularity across the Spanish-speaking world after starting out as the channel’s mascot. “Like all of our programming, the DOKI series has been created to prep children for the world around them by sparking curiosity and encouraging independent thinking while preserving the Spanish language from a young age.” 

DOKI airs at 5:30 p.m. ET and again in the morning hours each weekday.

Looking ahead to 2014, Discovery Familia’s primetime and late-night hours will continue to place the focus on beauty, home and health for mom. “We’re continuing to evolve our parenting and health genres,” Silar said.

The network is also looking into programming that deals with a growing subject of importance for Hispanic moms -- how to properly care for their aging parents. In cities such as the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Ariz., new home builders are rapidly turning out “home-within-a-home” properties squarely designed for multi-generational families. Hispanics comprise a significant portion of such families.

Silar can also tap into the vast resources of Discovery Communications to fill out the remainder of its programming.

“Because Discovery is such a rich content company, I can go into our vault and really tap into subject matter that truly matters in the lives of today’s Hispanic women,” she said. “It speaks strongly about the network’s value proposition, and helps us in ensuring our distribution is as wide as it can be.”