This study uses TGI Latina data to look at changes over time in respondents’self-reported interest in television programming from their own nation, the region, the US, and Europe. The theory of cultural proximity predicts that respondents would prefer first their own national programs and channels, then regional ones, then those of the US or Europe.This was represented in the surveys by viewing interest for national, Latin American regional, US, and European television programs and films. Four questions asked respondents to state their interest in television programs and films from (nation, region, etc.) on a scale from “very uninterested” to “very interested.” We use the combined values “interested” and “very interested” to indicate interest in television programming from each of the four origins surveyed (national, regional, US, and European). We then examined the relationships between these scales of interest in programming to education, which we conceptually define as cultural capital; an index of socio-economic status, which we conceptually define as economic capital; and an index of forms of foreign language learning, which we conceptually define as linguistic capital.

Data Analysis

The TGI Latina 2004—2014 data was run through Choices 3, specially designed analysis software at Kantar Media. The team ran crosstabs of the designated indicators for viewing interest in US programming and the different capitals, and then used the Significance option in Choices 3 to calculate chi-square statistics and flag those significant at the .01 level. We used a more demanding level of significance, P=.O1 versus P=.O5, to limit the risk of Type I error.


This study allows access to conceptually useful data but is limited in three important ways. First, it is a study of major metro areas, not national populations, as noted above. Second, in order to have access to the data, we had to analyze within the analytical programs of Kantar Media, which essentially limited us to cross-tabulations with significance analyzed by the chi-square statistics; more advanced statistical procedures and measures were not possible in Kantar’s system. Third, because of the large sample size and our need to rely on cross-tabulation, we run some risk ofType 1 error here, finding false positives in significance due to our large sample (61,400).

The Context of Multichannel Viewing Growth

In overall terms, viewing options increased substantially from 2004 to 2014.The average proportion of households in all eight Latin American countries studied which had only broadcast television declined from 72 percent in 2004 to 45 percent in 2014. Households with cable television rose from 20 percent to 36 percent. Satellite television homes rose from 7 percent to 18 percent. Overall, there was a fairly steady growth in multichannel television in most of the eight countries, from a regional average under 30 percent to about 55 percent (Figure 24.1).There was a rapid uptake in Colombia, 2006—2009, while some others had ups and downs despite the general growth trend. The opportunity for viewing many more kinds of channels went up considerably in most metro areas in the analyzed countries from 2004 to 2014, diminishing the monopoly by national broadcast channels and providing more competition for national programming. So one could ask whether a decline in national cultural proximity or an increase in the attraction of US or European programming might be related to the increasing availability of those programs on cable or satellite multichannel television.


Figure 24.1 Multichannel Television Penetration, 2004—2014.

Preferences for National and Regional Television Programs

TGI Latina data from 2004 to 2014 show changes over time in respondents’ overall interest in television from their own nation, compared to programming from the rest of the Latin American region, the US, and Europe. The theory of cultural proximity predicts that respondents would prefer first their own national programs and channels. It then predicted that after that, viewers would prefer regional programs, then those of the US or Europe.

In general, in all Latin American countries combined in 2014 (the set of columns at the left of Figure 24.2), 59 percent of respondents said they were interested or very interested in domestic television films or programs, while 52% said they were interested or very interested in US television programs and films, 31% said they were interested or very interested in other Latin American programing, and 30% said they were interested or very interested in European television programing. However, we do see some major differences between countries, visible in the other sets of columns by country. The countries are ranked left to right in terms of the level of their metro area audiences interest in national programming and some changes over time, which we examine below.

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