SOAP INDUSTRY: Telenovelas and The Economist

Looks like The Economist has cottoned onto a trend We Love Soaps has been reporting for years. In this week's issue, there's a Business section article that surveys the landscape of programming targeted for Spanish-speaking Americans.

In other words, there's an article about telenovelas in The Economist this week. Four fun facts:

- Not just for "hispanohablantes". "As they grow up, second- and third-generation Hispanics may want to watch ABC, instead of ABISMO DE PASIÓN. More than a fifth of Hispanic Americans now speak only English at home. Networks are responding by providing English subtitles for programs in Spanish."

- Scripted and non-scripted soaps are everything.
"Telenovelas are still popular, but it is hard to think up other programs with such broad appeal, given the Hispanic population’s diversity. Of the top 25 shows watched by Hispanic audiences during prime time, 23 are Spanish-language dramas or reality shows, according to Nielsen."

- There's still journalistic bias against telenovelas. "Episodes that might take a week to shoot in Hollywood are wrapped up in a day so that its torrid telenovelas, or soap operas, can air on time... The props room is a jumble of coffins, stretchers, Virgin Mary statues and fake bags of cocaine."

- But The Economist can't argue with the economics. "For many media companies the 2010 census was a wake-up call: it showed that around 51m Americans, or 16% of the population, are Hispanic... According to the Selig Centre for Economic Growth, Hispanics have around $1.2 trillion in spending power, up 146% from 2000, and spend disproportionately on such things as clothes and groceries."

Read the whole article at The Economist.

- Our weekly round-up of Telenovelas by R. G. Morin
- ABISMO DE PASIÓN Finale Averaged 5.5 Million Viewers

Kevin Mulcahy Jr. is a Harvard alum who is currently working as a staff contributor at writing theater and web series reviews as well as other in-depth features. Read all his Web Series reviews here. To contact Kevin, email

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