Boston — The launch of some minority-targeted cable
networks in the coming months won’t only give
added voice to ethnic communities that have been sorely
neglected in the past, it will also address one of the
fastest growing advertising segments in the country:
Aspire was one of the new minority-aimed networks
established in the wake of Comcast’s NBCUniversal partnership
with General Electric Co. One of the conditions
set by the Federal Communications Commission in approving
the deal was that Comcast commit to adding
eight minority-owned or partially owned-and-operated
networks, including four African-American targeted networks.
Aspire, co-owned by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, was
one of four networks announced in February. Revolt, a music
network co-owned by hip-hop legend Sean “P Diddy”
Combs and Hispanic-themed El Rey and Baby First Americas
were the first minority-owned networks selected.
Comcast has pledged to launch 10 minority owned networks,
including eight owned by Hispanics and African-
At a panel at the Cable Show last Monday (May 21), Aspire
general manager Paul Butler said that while existing
players BET, TV One and Centric are already targeting African-
American viewers, there is room for more.
Aspire, he said, will promote a positive image of African-
Americans and target young, college-educated
viewers. Already Aspire has had talks with several major
distributors and more carriage deals are to come,
According to Horowitz and Associates vice president
of marketing and business development Adriana Waterston,
37% of African Americans believe TV is doing a good
job representing the races properly, with 25% saying that
TV is doing a poor job.
When asked if TV is representing races accurately, only
33% in a Horowitz survey saw TV as doing a good job, and
27% give TV poor marks.
Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau vice president of
multicultural and emerging markets Cynthia Perkins-
Roberts described African-Americans as a huge untapped
The U.S. African-American population, at 43 million,
has been growing at double the rate of non-Hispanic
Whites since 1990 and is expected to reach 45.5 million
by 2017, she said.
The segment also has enormous buying power, spending
about $946.6 billion in 2010, rising to an estimated
$1.3 trillion by 2017.