African-Americans Have Got Game


So much media attention rightly has been focused on the growth and influence of the Hispanic marketplace, given the results of the 2010 U.S. Census.But that’s no reason for cable programmers, marketers and advertisers to sleep on the still-emerging African- American community.

While its population growth hasn’t been as explosive as that of the Hispanic community, cable programmers and advertisers shouldn’t ignore some 43 million African-Americans who, as a group, watch more than 40% more television than anyone else in America and are projected to have a collective buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s new website higlighting research on African-American viewers,

With more than 47% of African-Americans under the age of 35, that community - already on the forefront of setting today’s culture, music and fashion trends - will potentially become even more influential in the entertainment space over the next decade, according to a recent Nielsen report, The State of the African-American Consumer.

African-Americans are becoming more affluent - the number of $100,000-plus income households has increased by 88% in the last decade - and more educated, with more than half of all African-Americans older than 25 attending some college or earning a degree, according to Nielsen. This makes the demographic a growing triple-threat target for marketers and advertisers.

At the forefront of the community is arguably its lifeblood, African-American women. As this week’s cover story outlines, the demographic is just now getting the “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” that Aretha Franklin sang about from cable networks and advertisers who are recognizing the collective value of the demo and its overall influence in the black community.

Ratings for some of the top reality and scripted shows on BET, TV One, VH1 and Bravo are driven by African-American women, who watch twice as much TV in a given week than their Hispanic female counterparts and 25% more than white female viewers.

While some may argue that many of these popular reality shows don’t cast their subjects in the most positive light, it’s clear that African- American women are watching in big numbers, providing a vehicle for advertisers to reach an influential segment of a community that is still worthy of industry attention.