Latino youth feel ignored by mainstream media and brands, and yet consume both in great quantities -- a quandary discussed today (April 8) by the general managers of bilingual music channels MTV Tr3s and mun2.

The two organizations discussed their channels' research findings at the Billboard Latin Music Conference at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Fla. In a mun2 study, 71% of participants felt that no major brand spoke to them or represented them, said mun2 GM Alex Pels.

"They want to see themselves more out there," he explained. "They want to be part of the message; they want their faces to be in the programming. Don't target them without including them."

In a fragmented media environment in which kids can watch mainstream and Spanish-language media, MTV Tr3s' Lucia Ballas-Traynor said her bilingual channel was "about the deep emotional connection."

Whereas previous generations of Latinos were taught to assimilate, young Latinos today are "retro-culturating," or taking pride in their culture as they reach adulthood, said Ballas-Traynor.

Part of the challenge for the channels was getting advertisers to know even the biggest Latin artists, she said, and in developing the market itself. In appealing to a broad audience, both channels are heavy on pop and urban, more so than rock -- a result of the audience living in "high-density communities in big urban centers," Pels said.

"I think right now hip-hop culture speaks more to Latino youth culture in this country more than Latin rock," Pels explained.

Ballas-Traynor said the playlist was also reflective of distribution, which in MTV Tr3s' case is over-the-air, not pay TV, in places like Los Angeles. "People who have access to cable are a different type of audience," she said, noting that Latin rock groups tend to thrive on the channel's digital platforms.