Survey: Majority of Black TV viewers dissatisfied with programming
24, 2012) At a time when several new channels and programs are targeting
the African-American audience, a new survey reveals that the
overwhelming majority of these viewers are dissatisfied with their
current programming options. When asked, "Are you satisfied with the
variety of Black TV programs now on the air," 97% of the
African-Americans who voluntarily participated in the survey said they
were not satisfied.
A coalition of consumer groups, media activists, clergy and concerned
citizens were brought together by Black Heritage Network and
commissioned Target Market News to conduct a national online survey. The
questionnaire asked African-American households about their viewing
habits and the kind of programming choices they'd like to have.
"The television industry has long been in the habit of tracking what
African-Americans watched," said Ken Smikle, president of Target Market
News. "This was a rare opportunity for this audience to tell the
industry what it is they would prefer to watch. It should be no surprise
that their answers are contrary to most of the conventional wisdom about
what Black viewers preferences would be."
When asked, "What types of Black-oriented programs would you like to see
more of," the majority answered more documentaries (75%), history (71%),
arts (68%), independent films (65%) and news (59%) programming. There
was less support for more Black-oriented talk shows (34%), cooking shows
(29%) and sports-related programs (24%).
What's most significant about these responses is the opportunity that
they point to. According to data from Nielsen, African-Americans have
traditionally consumed more hours of television than other segments of
the population. At the same time, the survey suggests that they may be
only marginally enthusiastic about they're watching.
"The recent success of ABC's new political drama, "Scandal," proves that
African-Americans will flock to shows where they can see themselves in
positive, yet non-traditional roles," said Smikle. "Blacks are 13% of
the TV households in the U.S., but they were 23% of the total audience
watching the first three episodes of the series."
Nearly half of survey participants (47.8%) said they watch about equal
amounts of network and cable offerings. About a third (32.8%) said they
view mostly cable programs, and 19.8% claimed they spent more time
watching broadcast network shows. Nearly two-thirds (73%) said they
watch public television shows.
Trying to satisfy the tastes of African-American viewers may prove
important to the television industry as it addresses how technology
changes viewing habits. Nearly half (47%) of the respondents said they
watch TV programs on their computer or iPad.
"The results clearly reflect an appetite for the kind of Black-oriented
programming that has long been ignored by the industry," said Smikle.
"But it also demonstrates an opportunity for broadcasters, cable and
satellite, advertisers and producers. The kinds of programs that are
desired by these respondents would be of interest to all segments of the
viewing audience, not just African-Americans. It will be interesting to
see if the new Black-targeted digital and cable channels will be able to
take advantage of this strong demand."
The survey was conducted online from Feb. 13 - March 31, 2012 through
the dedicated Web site, WhatIWantToSee.com. The results are based on
responses given by 531 self-identified African-Americans from across the
U.S. For further information, contact Target Market News at
Go to Target Market News homepage
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