According to a custom survey by Nielsen with Essence, African-Americans consume more content, engage and connect, than other groups on all fronts, through various mainstream and niche media outlets and platforms. In a consumer marketplace cluttered with options, African-Americans choose the best-fit media outlets for news gathering and entertainment purposes, reporting above-average consumption across each platform.
African-Americans watch the most television of any group, watching nearly 200 hours per month, roughly 60 more hours than the total audience. While blacks watch more live television than other groups, says the report, levels of time-shifted and video-on-demand viewing are increasing as well, furthering the notion this group of consumers is multifaceted in their approach to viewing their favorite broadcast and cable programs.
African-American consumers still trust print. 52% of the black consumers Nielsen surveyed were more likely to be voracious readers of magazines, which is 30% higher than the general population.
African-American Involvement in Media
Time Spent On
Radio (hours weekly)
Source: Nielsen/Essence, February 2015
Culture and heritage are drivers of preferred reading choices for blacks. Among survey respondents, African-American focused magazines and newspapers were important and provided information about products and deals. 59% of African-Americans agreed that advertisers in black newspapers, specifically, know how to connect with black audiences. Because of blacks’ strong affinity for culture-rich content, general-market outlets have established niche websites that offer a space for African-American-inspired stories on digital platforms.
In a recent Nielsen report, where 10,000 African-American adults were surveyed, 92% said they tune into radio each week, listening for more than 12 hours, which is 5% longer than the total audience. Peak listening hours are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with 61% of the listening occurring outside of the home.
Top-ranked radio formats for African-Americans with audiences that are more than 70% black are Urban Contemporary, Adult Urban Contemporary and Rhythmic Contemporary. Other influential formats include Gospel and Urban oldies, which maintain 90% of black audiences.
African-American consumers have embraced technology, are avid users in this space, and have become vocal mainstays in popular social media and blogging channels. Smartphone penetration is 81%, slightly edging the total population by 7%. On a monthly basis, blacks spend close to 56 hours using apps or mobile Internet browsers on their smartphones and about two and a half hours watching videos on their smartphones. Additionally, 81% of African-Americans are more likely to show support for a favorite company or brand using social media, and 76% are more likely to share opinions by posting reviews and ratings online.
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