In our increasingly multicultural world, how is mainstream media perceived by multicultural consumers who are quickly becoming the new general market? In Horowitz Associates' 13th annual State of Cable and Digital Media: Multicultural Edition study, White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian urban consumers were asked how well TV represents racial and ethnic groups in terms of quality (accuracy in comparison with reality) and quantity (proportionate with reality). One-third (32%) say TV does a good job with quality, but a comparable number (27%) give unfavorable ratings; two in five (40%) give favorable ratings for quantity and one-quarter (23%) give unfavorable ratings. Across total multicultural consumers, neutral ratings fall between 37% (quantity) and 41% (quality).
The study reveals important dynamics across races, particularly among key Hispanic segments. Spanish-dominant Hispanics are the most satisfied with racial representation in the media, reporting the highest favorable ratings and lowest unfavorable ratings for quantity (53% favorable; 11% unfavorable) and quality (46% favorable; 13% unfavorable). Spanish-dominant Hispanics watch 69% of their TV in Spanish, however, making their evaluation reflective of the content on Spanish networks. On the other hand, English-oriented Hispanics, who watch 92% of their programming in English, give the media high unfavorable ratings for quality (35%) and quantity (29%).
Asians are the least satisfied with multicultural representation, giving the lowest favorable ratings for quantity (24%; 31% unfavorable) and quality (22%; 27% unfavorable). Asians are the only segment that gives higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ratings for both quantity and quality.
"Multicultural audiences have always been the best customers for television and entertainment. Tokenism and stereotypical representation of ethnicities in the media will not pass muster among this new general market for media," notes Adriana Waterston, Horowitz's VP of Marketing and Business Development. "Our findings, particularly the dramatic differences between key segments of the Hispanic market, help underscore the value viewers place in seeing themselves represented in the stories, voices, and faces they watch on TV."