Study Finds Race Big Factor in Media Views

A national survey of more than 19,000 adults by Mendelsohn revealed some dramatic differences in how consumers perceive media, based on their ethnic background.

Certain brands did well across the board: the Discovery Channel and People took the top spot among every group--except African-Americans. The WeatherChannel.com swept the top ranking in Web site category.

At the request of advertisers on the Association of National Advertiser's Print Committee, Mendelsohn analyzed data from its annual PReSS survey to identify specific patterns related to media consumption and race, including Hispanic heritage.

The PReSS survey covers magazines, national newspapers in both print and Web-based formats, cable television networks, major search engines and major ad-supported Web sites. Mendelsohn focused specifically on "media brand ratings"--the general opinion of a specific media outlet among a particular group of consumers.

But the exceptions in print and cable consumption highlight important differences in media habits between African-Americans and other ethnic groups.

Among the most dramatic findings: Mendelsohn found that BET is the highest-rated cable network among African-Americans, while four of the top five magazines are Ebony, Jet, Essence and O.

African-Americans also placed the Lifetime Channel and Lifetime Movie Network in their top 10 cable channels--the only group to do so. However, African-Americans gave high rankings to news channels like FoxNews, CNN and the Weather Channel, and gave the No. 2 cable spot to the Discovery Channel, paralleling other groups to some degree.

Asian-Americans also favor general news and entertainment cable channels, including CNN, Fox News, ESPN, ESPN 2 and the ubiquitous Discovery Channel. But there were some differences in cable viewing: the Food Network and Disney Channel both made the Asian-American top 10--as opposed to other groups. Among print properties, Asian-Americans gave general news titles like USA Today, Time, and Newsweek some of the highest ratings.

Finally, among Hispanics, general news cable channels also rank highest--with CNN and Fox News leading the way, and Animal Planet also making a strong showing. Hispanics' favorite print publications resemble those of white consumers: People, AARP the Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Reader's Digest, USA Today and National Geographic topping the list.

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