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  • Bethany Wilson

Media in Spain- Same or Different?

The media systems in the US and Spain are mostly the same in the form of media vehicles, but the difference lies in the messaging and the purpose behind the use of media.

In Spain, most people use their digital devices throughout the day for work, social interactions, and entertainment. You would find people playing games on their phones while riding the metro or sending voice messages to their friends and family over WhatsApp. The use of mobile devices is an important part of the culture there, but different from the US in that the phones will go away when it is time to eat and have quality time. Most use of mobile devices are when individuals are not around people they know so they will engage with their device for entertainment.

The metro is actually a huge hub for advertisements. When taking the metro in Spain you walk past many poster ads, ads on the inside of the train, large ads spread out over the walls of the metro stations. Since many people in Spain rely on public transportation more than their personal transportation, this makes sense to use the environment for advertisements.

While I was in Spain, I learned, through talking with Spanish students at the dorms, that most people do not use online music streaming as a social platform, rather it is the personal music library of that person. They found it strange when I asked them what their Spotify account was because I was interested in what music they listen to. Following each other on music streaming apps is not a thing that people do in Spain. This is different than in the US where people follow their friends, so they can see what music they are listening to and what artists they like. I also noticed that the students there don't listen to music as often as people at home do. I could walk around UNT and find thousands of students listening to their Spotify or Apple Music while they are studying, working out, walking to class, eating, you name it. I did not find that as common in Spain. Even on the metro I did not see that many people listening to music. I found this important because this limits the use of advertising on music streaming apps in Spain.

From what I saw, television is mostly used for news and sports there. Younger Spaniards use Netflix and YouTube for their entertainment, but all ages would gather around the TV when Nadal was playing tennis or if there was a big news story. I found this interestingly similar to the US because most people my age do not have a TV or a cable subscription. Instead we use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and other sites for our on-demand selection of entertainment. I can see the connection between the two countries and how the younger generations are not watching TV like previous generations. Even sports have been shortened to highlight the biggest parts of the game so that the younger viewers only have to spend a few minutes to view the game rather than watching it for hours.

I think the traditional media in Spain is not consumed as much by the younger generations, similar to the US. The major difference between how the two cultures consume media is how often and for what purpose. In the US, young adults interact more with social media, music and video streaming not only as a form of entertainment, but as a way of self-expression, business, and community.

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