Multicultural Viewers Are Multiplatform, Too


New York — Cable programmers and operators will
have to work together to provide the best video product
as conveniently as possible over numerous technologies
if they hope to remain relevant among a growing,
more platform-diverse multicultural audience.

That’s the takeaway from Horowitz Associates’ annual
"State of Cable and Digital Media: Urban Markets" study
of the media habits of multicultural audiences, which
found that such viewers are gravitating toward online,
mobile and other technologies faster than the general

Only 13% of the general U.S. population watches TV
shows or other video online on a monthly basis, according
to Horowitz, while just 5% of that group watches
mobile-phone video each month.

But about 36% of Asian consumers, 14% of African-
Americans and 17% of Latinos watch video online each
month, compared to just 7% of white viewers, according
to the survey.

In addition, 9% of African-American viewers, 7% of
Hispanics and 3% of Asian viewers are watching TV
shows and other video programming via mobile phones,
compared to 2% of white viewers.

Speaking at last week’s Horowitz Associates 10th Annual
Multicultural Forum here, Horowitz vice president
of marketing and development Adriana Peterson said
new-media platforms can provide a boost for the big
content providers, because viewers want to see the top
cable and broadcast shows online and on their mobile
phones. Nearly 20% of all broadband video viewing is of
full-length episodes of cable and broadcast network programming,
compared to 17% for news video segments
and 16% for movie trailers, according to the study.

But these emerging platforms have complicated negotiations
between operators
and networks
over distribution, as
both sides volley over
traditional and alternative
media rights.

“We’re discussing
content that’s on the
Web, the television, the
[digital video recorder]
and mobile and, as
a result, negotiations
are getting more difficult, but we’re embracing
it,” said Mediacom
Communications vice
president of programming Glenn Goldsmith. “Th e question
then becomes, how do I get those rights?”

A&E Television Networks senior vice president of distribution
and business development Mark Garner said
today’s carriage negotiations between operators and networks
are far more complex than in past years, because
the outcome has ramifications on a host of other revenue
opportunities for both parties. There is “a lot of money to
be made” between the various platforms, he added, but
it’s crucial not to disrupt the current distribution model
that has served both parties well financially.

Content targeted to multicultural audiences in particular
will become more valuable both for traditional
cable and new media platforms, as diverse audiences
continue to take full advantage of the new technologies.
But for Comcast and Radio One-owned TV One,
the ability to off er its African-American-targeted content
via the Web has been slowed
by long-term deals that limit
how much content can be
placed online on in the mobile
space, according to senior vice
president of national accounts
Kimberly Hulsey.

Still, Fuse executive vice
president of content distribution
Brad Samuels said traditional
television will remain
the best way for content providers
to reach consumers for
the foreseeable future.

The State of Cable and Digital
Media: Urban Markets also
reported that 69% of all television viewing is still done
through traditional linear cable and satellite services,
although viewers with DVRs and DVD players watch
about 13% less live television.

Also, the much-debated “digital divide” is quickly
becoming a past phenomenon, as more than half of all
Hispanic, African-American and Asian homes now have
broadband access.