How digital media upstart Mitú is bridging the gap with young Hispanics

Actress Rosario Dawson at Mitú’s voter registration event in May.
Actress Rosario Dawson at Mitú’s voter registration event in May.
Image: Dan Steinberg/AP Images for Mitu
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Mitú may be the fastest-growing digital-media brand you’ve never heard of.

The English-language web channel, which just joined Snapchat’s Discover platform, produces online videos for young Latinos, taking advantage of the rise in digital video viewing among this group.

While other outlets geared toward Hispanic millennials have lagged, the four-year-old company’s method of partnering with Latino creators on lifestyle videos for platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram has built a thriving audience. As of January, Mitú had a network of more than 1,000 creators who garnered about 2 billion monthly video views on YouTube and other social platforms, USA Today reported.

Now, it’s transforming into a full-scale media company and bringing more of its production in-house, Mike Su, Mitú’s chief product officer told Quartz. In addition to the Snapchat deal (paywall), which allows Mitú to share daily videos, animations, GIFs, and articles in a special section of the app alongside well-known publishers like Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Vice, and the Wall Street Journal, the company has content partnerships with brands including NBC and Discovery Communications.

At the start of the year, Mitú raised $27 million from investors including Verizon, DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV, and ad agency WPP. The funding helped Mitú grow its in-house editorial and video teams, and establish a premium-content group that produces exclusive series like this one for Comcast’s Watchable app. It also built out its website.

Mitú’s in-house and wholly owned content is now viewed more than 400 million times a month across platforms, including 120 million video views, the company said. Facebook has become Mitú’s biggest brand presence—usurping YouTube, which the company plans to expand on in 2017. And its website, wearemitu.com, garnered 44,000 unique visitors in October, the first month that it was tracked by third-party measurement firm ComScore.

Latinos—Mitú’s core audience—are coveted among brands that want to connect with young people; more than half of Hispanics in the US are under the age of 33, Pew Research Center found. Hispanics are also the largest ethnic or racial minority in the nation.

Other publishers have struggled to connect with young Latinos online.

Univision-owned Fusion.net, which launched in 2013 as a site for Hispanic youths, is just hitting its stride. In October, it had 10.7 million unique viewers, 26% of whom were Hispanic, according to comScore. For comparison, 12% of the audience for Mitú’s website audience was Hispanic during the same month. Fusion recently slashed its staff as part of a restructuring that moved it under the umbrella of Univision’s newly acquired Gawker brands, now known as Gizmodo Media Group, which are geared toward millennials at large. As part of the shift, Fusion will focus on social justice and diversity coverage, as well as investigative work.

Univision also has an online-video outlet called Flama, which competes more directly with Mitú. It targets second- and third-generation Hispanics with online videos centered on comedy, music, and entertainment. A spokesperson for Univision could not immediately provide data on Flama’s viewership, and the site is not tracked by comScore.

Mitú, meanwhile, creates lifestyle content including food, fashion, beauty, crafts, and do-it-yourself projects, which sets it apart from other Hispanic media, Digiday reported. Its founders, former TV producers, reportedly recognized there were plenty of telenovelas, sports, news, and game shows on Spanish-language TV, but few English-language lifestyle videos for Latino audiences.

“We’re filling a void of content that is really not out there, at least not in this level of quality and production values,” CEO Roy Burstin told the publication last year. “That allows us to attract brands and spin some of this content into traditional media.”

The company is betting that new partnerships with media brands like Snap will grow continue to grow its audience, enabling it to attract more ad dollars away from traditional TV.

“Historically, brands have spent huge budgets on Spanish-language television, yet the majority of the young Latino audience today is English dominant, and digitally native,” said Danny Johnson, chief marketing officer at Mitú, in a statement. “Our partnership with Snap provides an immediate, at scale opportunity for brands to reach and engage with the new mainstream.”

Update (Dec. 15 at 3pm EST): This story was updated to include ComScore audience data for Mitú’s website, which was recently measured by the firm for the first time.