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Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $656 Billion (2003)

Black U.S. Population:
  38.3 million

Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
  - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing 145.2 bil.
 - Food 56.5 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks 32.6 bil.
 - Clothing 23.0 bil.
 - Health Care 18.0 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
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U.S. Census 
Bureau Data

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Africast launches nation's first Pan-African movie channel on the Internet

(August 22, 2005) Africast Television Network has launched America's first Pan-African movie channel offering popular African movies, dramas and documentaries as subscription video on demand at its Website, http://www.africast.tv/. Internet Marketing Consortium, an international marketing company, is investing $1.5 million in Africast on marketing and promotions aimed at U.S. and worldwide audiences.

For $9.95 per month, subscribers can access 50 hours of film and drama programming which is refreshed by 10 additional hours of new programming each month. Africast is negotiating with Comcast and other cable companies to expand its service to selected cities.

"Culturally and politically, Africa is poised to undergo more changes and wield more influence in the world than ever before," says John Sarpong, Africast Chairman and CEO. "However, much of what is shown about Africa is a view from outside, seen through eyes that are not African and, in some cases, not Africa friendly. Only if Africans can present their stories to the world will Africa gain renewed respect and realize her promising future. Our mission is to provide a global voice for Africans to tell their own stories."

Bret Moore is promoted to publisher of AOL Black Voices

June 21, 2005 – America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, today named Bretland Moore, Publisher of AOL BlackVoices, reporting to Michael Barrett, Executive Vice President, Global Sales, AOL Media Networks. 

"We are thrilled to promote Bret and feel confident that he will continue the overall success of our diversity sales initiatives," said Barrett. 

As publisher of AOL BlackVoices, Moore will now lead the sales and sales development efforts for the service.  Most recently, he was Sales Director, International and Multicultural for AOL Media Networks.

is a veteran of the African-American media market, having served as  Publisher and Vice President of Sales for the Tribune Company, where he was responsible for overall operations and profitability of the Black Voices magazine/newspaper insert program and advertising sales for BlackVoices.com. 

During his tenure, Moore created new sales products through the integration of online and print advertising assets, and helped conceive and close the largest multi-year, multi-million-dollar deal with General Motors, the largest single deal of its kind in the African-American online space.  Previously, he co-founded the successful publishing and sports marketing company Sports View Publications, Inc., and held various sales and marketing positions during a 14-year career with ExxonMobil.

AOL Black Voices offers new sports channel with commentary from 'Spud' Webb

(May 9, 2005) As part of a new Sports Channel on the AOL Black Voices service, Anthony "Spud" Webb is now featured in weekly sports editorial column called “A Little NBA with Spud Webb.”  This new area is available every Friday at AOL Keyword: BV Sports or on the web at bv.channel.aol.com/sports , and features exclusive commentary from the former NBA superstar through this year's finals.

In addition to this new column, the Sports channel also features extensive sports coverage including a weekly recap of the best sports stories of the week, a daily updated sports blog, highlights from sporting events and exclusive coverage on black college sports. Also available is a Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) Central feature with schedules, standings, special events, news on HBCU sports, and weekly columnists from each of the four HBCU conferences, as well as a weekly column from Lut Williams. 

“We are excited to add an exclusive Sports channel to Black Voices to continue giving our users insights into sports with a Black perspective,” said Gary Dauphin, director and editor-in-chief, AOL BlackVoices.  “This new area is an expansion of our previous sports offering which was available as part of the News section.”

In addition, Black Voices offers a voice for professional African American athletes to tell their stories and provide a different perspective than mainstream media. For example, the service is launching an exclusive interview with Charles Barkley where he answers member questions and is showcasing excerpts from his new book “Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?” 

Additionally, for those who love to interact, react and communicate with others on different sports topics, Black Voices offers a community feature called BV Sports Town Hall where sports fans can sound off about hot topics like the NFL draft, getting respect for black coaches and the Kobe and Shaquille feud, among others. 

IMAGES USA selected by AOL BlackVoices for comprehensive African-American study

(April 4, 2005) Atlanta-based agency, IMAGES USA, has been commissioned by AOL BlackVoices to conduct qualitative and quantitative research on African Americans and their Internet behavior. Officials at the world's largest Internet service provider say the study will mark the beginning of a new initiative to better serve the black online consumer.

“To have intimate and as complete a knowledge base on your customers and audience is key to any business," said Bret Moore, director of sales for AOL BlackVoices. "Our attempt is to hone in and learn as much as we can about the African-American consumer [that is] online so that we can program effectively to them and create as effective an environment as possible for our advertising clients."

Focus groups are already being conducted with African-Americans in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles who use and don't use AOL. Random telephone interviews in those markets will begin this week. Results of the study are expected to be unveiled in May.

"We’re a strategic marketing partners with AOL," said Bob McNeil, president of IMAGES USA. "We’re using this data collection to begin forming a strategic platform for not only BlackVoices but also on how AOL can effectively reach the African-American consumer both online and off-line.”

The study will precede, coincidentally, the unveiling of the revamp of the BlackVoices.com site. Since merging BV with Africana.com earlier this year, AOL has been making changes to its centerpiece site for black audiences. According to Nielsen NetRatings and
comScore Media Metrix figures, 5.8 million African-American spend over 1 billion minutes on AOL Networks each month. BV logs 2.7 million visitors each month.

"You’ve seen a lot of data on African-Americans; how many are online, how much time they spend online," said Moore. "What we’re really trying to get to with this particular study is a lot deeper than that. We’re focusing on behavior, what drives behavior, what drives preferences for the segment and go to the point of the differences and analyzing those differences. We’re taking this two or three steps beyond anything that’s ever been captured."
Click here to see AOL BlackVoices promotional video

AOL BlackVoices launches its own version of 'TV's Top 5' feature

(March 30, 2005) AOL BlackVoices has launched a new weekly programming feature called “TV's Top 5” to capture TV’s most buzz-worthy moments which appeal to the African-American audience. Those who missed Nadia’s performance on American Idol, Keshia Knight Pulliam’s interview on Jimmy Kimmel or Oprah’s NAACP Hall of Fame speech will have a second chance to be among those in the know and  to exchange their views and opinions.

“Since this feature already has a proven track record as part of AOL Television's ‘TV's Top 5’ daily programming, we are confident that our version will also generate enthusiasm and a dedicated following,” said Gary Dauphin, Director and Editor-in-Chief for AOL Black Voices.

Whether it’s a news program, a sitcom, drama or special, the AOL BlackVoices ‘TV's Top 5” captures video clips of the must-see moments so that  users can view them on-demand. Chosen through a combination of AOL BlackVoices user response (including use of message boards, chats and AOL Alerts and Reminders), measurement data provided by TiVo, and AOL editorial input, television fans can watch each moment and rate it "Love it," Hate it" or "Just OK," then see how their rating compares to other user ratings.

New black-owned, online bank to target affluent African-American customers.

(March 28, 2005) Forget the digital divide. A newly chartered online bank plans to offer digital dividends by targeting affluent African-American customers.

BankBlackwell, the first-ever African-American direct community bank, announced today that the Office of Thrift Supervision of the U.S. Treasury Dept. has approved its application to organize a federal savings bank. It is the first African-American bank to obtain a federal banking charter in more than 10 years.

The new venture will employ a direct banking business model to reduce its overhead costs and will conduct business online, by phone and by mail. Officials say this strategy is designed to enable BankBlackwell to provide its customers with deposit rates among the top 5% nationally, with no fees or minimum balances.
with plans to offer online

Founded by James Mundy, a former executive with OneUnited Bank, the nation's second largest African American-owned bank, BankBlackwell will principally serve African-American consumers with $50,000-plus in household income and faith-based organizations.

Part of the appeal BankBlackwell hopes to market to customers is its requirement that customers establish an electronic link to an existing bank account. This enables customers to avoid the problems of changing banks, while keeping all the services, such as ATM access.

The bank's own products are designed to maximize personal financial advantage by offering competitive rates, easy 24-hour access to funds, and the opportunity to support the African-American community.

BankBlackwell's founders are seeking to raise about $16 million from investors. If they are successful, operations are slated to begin this summer.

MSN Video partners with Tina Marie TV to stream highlights from NAACP Image Awards

MSN and the production company Tina Marie Television teamed up to offer content from the 36th annual NAACP Image Awards free on MSN Video. The Internet-based broadcasts began earlier this week and can be viewed at msnvideo.com.

MSN Video will have interviews with award nominees and winners, all hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Tina Marie Tyler (above). Each day leading up to broadcast of the event, MSN Video will launched a new interview with an NAACP Image Award nominee.

"We're thrilled to be a part of the excitement leading up to the NAACP Image Awards by bringing these interviews to MSN Video," said Rob Bennett, senior director of MSN Entertainment at Microsoft Corp. "These interviews capture some of the enthusiasm surrounding this awards ceremony saluting people of color who have made amazing contributions in the arts."

Tina Marie Tyler, president and CEO of Tina Marie Tyler Television & Media, is a ten-year television veteran. She has worked for such organizations as ABC News, Fox News, Fox Sports, and PBS. Recently, she has served as a special entertainment correspondent for EXTRA!

"As a woman-owned, minority-focused production company, we're pleased to work with MSN to bring the amazing achievements of minority artists and entertainers to a larger audience by making unique video content from the NAACP Image Awards available online," said Tyler.

MSN Video, which launched in January 2004, serves more than 60 million consumers streaming video or audio each month. The advertising-supported service is free to users and includes streaming video from NBC News, the Discovery Communications Inc. network and HGTV, as well as music videos from dozens of top artists.

The NAACP Image Awards will air on FOX TV March 25 at 8 p.m. EST/PST. The awards were taped March 19 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and are hosted this year by comedian Chris Tucker. Among the honorees are Jamie Foxx, Oprah Winfrey and Barak Obama.

AOL signs agreement with A.G. Media for gospel content on BlackVoices

(March 15, 2005) A.G. Media Group, Inc. has announced today that it has signed an agreement with America Online, Inc., a division of Time Warner, the world's leading interactive services company to provide content and programming to AOL's newly launched African-American service, AOL BlackVoices.

Under the agreement, A.G. Media will provide AOL BlackVoices with Gospel music, entertainment and Christian lifestyle related articles, news items and rich media content from its GospelCity.com web property. The AOL BlackVoices service, which offers extensive programming, which appeals to African Americans, reaches millions of consumers nationwide. Also, the agreement will enable both parties to introduce co-branded features such as online artist live chats and album release previews.

"We're excited to partner with A.G. Media to offer BlackVoices members rich and compelling Gospel content," says Gary Dauphin, Director and Editor-in-Chief, AOL BlackVoices. "Looking at both the Gospel landscape and our members' interests, we realized that Gospel City's content would be the perfect addition to AOL BlackVoices' offering of original music and entertainment."

"Partnering with AOL BlackVoices provides a platform to greatly expand A.G. Media's audience visitor traffic and revenue," said Pierre Redding, A.G. Media Group President. "The exposure GospelCity.com will receive on AOL BlackVoices will positively impact our ability to attract our target demographic to the GospelCity site. Strategic alliances have been an effective method for us to build our audience base and we will continue to form new alliances going forward."

CFO Nina Silverstone added, "Within the first 24 months of our partnership with AOL, it is our Company's plan to add a minimum of 750,000 new users. The addition of this user base to GospelCity.com has the potential to yield up to $US 5 million in annual advertising and product sale revenue for AG Media."

A.G. Media Group was established to become a leading Christian media holding company comprising Christian-based Internet, print and television related content properties and technology development services. GospelCity.com is a leading web destination for Urban/Gospel Christian music fans and consumers who desire to access Christian music, artist information, inspirational content, community exchange and spiritual programming online.

AOL BlackVoices can be accessed at blackvoices.com.

The BBC partners with A.G. Media's GospelCity.com to promote gospel DVD

(March 7, 2005 ) A.G. Media Group, Inc. has announced a new marketing partnership with the United Kingdom's British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Under the agreement, the company's GospelCity.com web property will provide a comprehensive four-week interactive marketing campaign to promote the new release, employing a variety of novel marketing initiatives to promote the new BBC documentary, "The Story of Gospel Music: The Power in the Voice". The film features historical footage and interviews of many notable gospel artists and acts including: The Clark Sisters, Donnie McClurkin, Vanessa Bell Armstrong and many others. The DVD also includes stirring performances from Tramaine Hawkins, Cissy Houston, Mahalia Jackson, Thomas Dorsey, Aretha Franklin and many more. The story of black gospel music is told by theologians, historians and Gospel artists.

"As part of our efforts to introduce this release to the North American gospel audience, the highly-trafficked GospelCity web property offers us the perfect medium to reach a large African-American and Urban Christian audience," stated Burton Cromer, Vice President, Consumer Products for BBC Worldwide.

"The BBC's decision to partner with us further demonstrates the global reach and impact that the GospelCity web property has attained," stated Richard Picart, A.G. Media COO. He continued, "We are pleased that GospelCity is continuing to build on its track record of attracting a high caliber of advertisers and marketers."

A.G. Media Group was established to become a leading Christian media holding company comprising Christian-based Internet, print and television related content properties.

New site launched for business news on blacks in the book publishing industry

Target Market News and Black Issues Book Review form strategic alliance to create news and information source

(February 1, 2005) BlacksandBooks.com, a new information Web site, has been launched to target those who want authoritative business information about African-American authors, publishers and booksellers. The new venture brings together Target Market News and Black Issues Book Review magazine in a strategic alliance.

"We have long recognized the need for more trade information about African-Americans' rising profile in book publishing - not just as authors, but as publishing professionals, booksellers, agents and consumers," says Ken Smikle, founder, president and publisher of Target Market News, which is publishing BlacksandBooks.com.

"The African-American consumer market represents one of the leading growth opportunities in the publishing industry," continues Smikle. "We have seen black household spending on books grow from $258 million in 1996 to $331 million spent in 2003 [the most recent year in which data is available]. 

In the weeks ahead BlacksandBooks.com will be adding exclusive news stories, features and statistics related to African-Americans and book publishing. The Web site will also track the sales figures and bestselling book figures for titles by and for African-Americans.

Black Issues Book Review (BIBR) founding editor and editorial director Susan McHenry is editing BlacksandBooks.com from New York City, while she continues contributing to BIBR and its web site bibookreview.com. The the two companies will be cross-promoting their sites and collaborating on other resources.

"BlacksandBooks.com is very fortunate to have Susan McHenry as our editor," says founding publisher Smikle. "Her extensive experience will be invaluable in establishing the unique information environment that we're seeking for the site."

"The content we are launching with is just a modest example of how we intend to change the flow of information and availability of these facts," said Smikle. "We believe that we can ultimately change the paradigm of how African-Americans are viewed in the publishing business."

Target Market News, a Chicago-based news and research company that specializes in tracking African-American marketing, media and consumer behavior, owns TargetMarketNews.com.
Click here to go to BlacksandBooks.com.

TennesseeBlack.com launched to serve African-Americans throughout the state

(Jan 26, 2005) TennesseeBlack.com, a niche portal website that exclusively targets the African American market in the state of Tennessee, has been launched by JD Harper, Inc. a black-owned Chattanooga-based company.

The company's main strategy is to create the state's first one-stop, state-wide website, that allows individuals, corporations and organizations to target African-American market at an affordable price, said site president and CEO, Jermaine Harper.

The new website is dedicated to educating and empowering black Tennesseans by providing news and commentary on issues that affect the growth and the advancement of African Americans in Tennessee.

In addition to the website, TennesseeBlack.com will coordinate a number of off-line events and initiatives throughout the state. "Empowerment Workshops" will focus on educating and empowering individuals and families about wealth creation through homeownership, financial literacy and career management.

Tennessee's African American population exceeds 940,000 and is expected to grow by double digits over the next decade. "We will work to build long-lasting relationships with our advertising clients, by partnering with them to build long-term relationships with African American consumers," said Harper.

Africana.com making long anticipated move to merge with AOL's BlackVoices

(Jan. 10, 2005) In a move that has long been expected, America Online has announced that is it consolidating its two African-American targeted services, Africana.com and BlackVoices.com, into one entity.

"After 6 years, Africana.com is shutting its doors on January 31, 2005," says a message on the site. "It's been an exciting and interesting ride, and we hope you've enjoyed it as much as we have...While Africana.com will be no more, many of the features that comprised Africana.com will be given a new home at AOL BlackVoices. We hope that you, our members and readers, will also make the move to AOL BlackVoices with us and enrich its community with your voices."

Africana.com was purchased by AOL Time Warner in 2000 from its creators,
educators Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah. AOL then acquired BlackVoices.com two years ago when the the Tribune Co. decided to close the money-losing venture. BV has more than 800,000 registered members.

 11th Annual Edition Available

'Buying Power' report reveals surge by black households for consumer electronics

Despite tighter economic times, African-American households are significantly increasing their expenditures on consumer electronics for the home, according to the newest edition of The Buying Power of Black America report. In many categories such as video games, televisions, CD players, cable TV service and sound equipment, black households are spending more on average than their white counterparts.

According to the 103-page report, black households had $656 billion in earned income in 2003, an increase of 3.9% over the $631 earned in 2002.

Read more and see the latest expenditure figures for black consumers


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