Cable Leads Charge To Increase Black Ad Dollars


It’s not surprising that BET and the cable industry are leading the unprecedented, African-American-targeted advertising and marketing consortium announced earlier this week.

The consortium will combine the resources of 25 African-American based media companies to deliver a message to advertising firms and marketing companies that targeting the African-American consumer is good business. African-Americans represent over 42 million consumers with a buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually. By 2015, African- American consumer buying power is estimated to hit $1.2 trillion, up from $913 billion in 2008, according to the consortium.

While advocacy groups have been developed for the Hispanic and Asian marketplaces, Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau vice president of multicultural marketing and sales development Cynthia Perkins-Roberts said there has never been an effective advocacy group touting the African-American consumer. “In the absence of an advocacy group it makes sense that cable industry would be the media to do it,” she added.

The cable industry knows how to effectively reach the African-American consumer. Networks like BET, TV One and Africa Channel – all of which are participating in the consortium – along with cable operators and other cable companies have been effective in appealing to and attracting African-American viewers.

And the industry will add another African-American-aimed service when Magic Johnson’s Aspire channel launches tonight.

As a result more than $900 million in ad dollars was spent in cable to reach black consumers in 2011, well above runners up radio spot advertising ($757 million) and National Magazine ads ($334 million), according to Nielsen.

“Based on our position in the marketplace we thought it was appropriate for us to take the lead,” said Louis Carr, president of media sales at BET. “We wanted to galvanize all of the companies that we know are being affected by this lack of attention and the undervaluation of the black consumer. It’s still a growing marketplace that spends a tremendous amount of money in categories such as movies, automobiles and packaged goods.”

The focus of the consortium is not just to reach the various ad agencies and media decision makers. Carr said #InTheBlack will also target African-American consumers with a multi-media campaign that will make them more aware of how valuable they really are.

“We want to educate the consumers themselves because we believe that the consumers should know the power and influence they have over particular brands,” he said. “We want make sure they know the role media companies and black agencies play in communicating to them.”