Multicultural TV audiences want to see more authentically relevant content

6/18/2014, 10:24 p.m.

If America's growing ranks of multicultural audiences have a say, mainstream TV programming will become more culturally vibrant, suggests a new study released by Horowitz Associates. Findings from State of Cable & Digital Media: Multicultural Edition 2014 reveals that 71% of African Americans, 65% of Hispanics, and 53% of Asians feel that staying connected to their culture is very important.

The study suggests, however, that these important cultural connections are not delivered by mainstream media: In this annual survey of 2,078 White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian urban TV content viewers, more than four in ten (44%) total respondents -- and a full 57% of multicultural viewers -- feel strongly that mainstream television needs more diversity of cultures and lifestyles.

In today's content-saturated and on-demand media market, understanding what engages multicultural audiences and, concomitantly, the new American general market, is critical for success. Viewing the Viewer, a recent-released Horowitz videography, sheds further light on how to connect with America's diverse audiences, suggesting that it is not just the number of diverse faces on TV, but the quality of the representation that matters.

David, an ethnographic research participant from Los Angeles, explains, "Television is very influential. People see it and take it as truth. If you have people playing a certain role, they get stereotyped." Tanya, another participant from Houston, argues, "It goes back to having the right people in place to write the scripts who know that there are ... cultural differences other than what the media might be portraying."

State of Cable & Digital Media: Multicultural Edition is a syndicated consumer survey covering the media behaviors of multicultural consumers and is conducted among 2,078 heads of household 18+ who are TV content viewers in urban markets. Viewing the Viewer is an ethnographic documentary of alternative platform users. For more information, contact Adriana Waterston at adrianaw@horowitzassociates.com.