Horowitz & Associates Inc.'s ethnic-research division,
Surveys Unlimited, plans to release results of an urban-market study on telecommunications
next month, which points to high demand for cable and Internet services among a diverse
group of New Yorkers.
Rather than just conducting telephone polls, Surveys
Unlimited sent researchers into the field in order to understand the social, family and
economic dynamics that go into communications consumption.
From July through November, ethnographer Carla Barrett
spent time with residents in a number of New York City neighborhoods, including the Upper
West Side, Brooklyn, Harlem, Washington Heights, the East Village and the Bronx.
"Ethnography paints a more complex picture than you
could get in a survey," Surveys Unlimited president Alisse Waterston said, adding
that she was still analyzing data for "The State of Broadband Urban Markets"
study this month.
Waterston offered Multichannel News glimpses into
A 25-year-old Brooklyn resident named Suzanne doesn't have
cable, but it's not for lack of desire. She and two roommates live in a loft apartment in
a once-industrial section of Williamsburg, which hasn't been wired for cable. "I
would like to have cable because there are some totally awesome shows on HBO [Home Box
Office]," Suzanne told Barrett.
A 15-year-old central Harlem resident, Alejo, of Latino and
African-American descent, said he watches HBO, Showtime, Discovery Channel, A&E
Network, MTV: Music Television, Black Entertainment Television and Bravo, but he added
that he doesn't have much time for television because he'd rather hang out with his
Also in Harlem, an African-American man identified as Mr.
Coles complained to Barrett that he and his son have less access to digital services such
as high-speed Internet access than their counterparts on the Upper East Side. "I
essentially am redlined just because I live in Harlem," he said.
Some younger New Yorkers don't feel the need to subscribe
to Internet-service providers at home because they have Internet access at work or school.
In Manhattan's East Village, 25-year-old Sara has free
access as a New York University student. Meanwhile, Brooklyn-based relatives on her
father's side don't want Internet access at all because as Orthodox Jews, they're afraid
it would weaken their cultural traditions. Not only don't they subscribe to cable, but
they don't own television sets.
Economics keep others from accessing as many
telecommunications services as they'd like. A suburban New Jersey man named Dario spends
$50 per month on basic cable and HBO for himself, his wife and his young child. He'd
subscribed to other premium channels, but he found that it was too expensive.
Meanwhile, his 14-year-old daughter, Estella, who lives in
the Bronx, not only doesn't have cable anymore, but her mother's telephone is also
A number of industry clients sponsored the study, including
AT&T Broadband & Internet Services, Time Warner Inc., MTV, HBO and ESPN. Waterston
said the sponsors gave Surveys Unlimited input in shaping the questionnaires.
Other companies will be able to buy the report when it's
released in January.