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

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.