Marketers to Target TV Viewers by Ethnic Group

TV continues to be an effective media format for marketers to reach consumers. After all, the average consumer watches 5 hours and 11 minutes of TV every day. But the amount and types of TV viewing vary widely by ethnic group. New information published on this topic by Nielsen can help marketers more effectively reach their target audiences.

There’s no denying that U.S. consumers spend a significant amount of time in front of the TV screen on a daily basis. Nielsen studied the viewing behavior of consumers between the prime time hours of 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Difference between ethnic groups are noticeable:

  • African Americans 7:12 (hours and minutes)
  • Whites 5:02
  • Hispanics 4:35
  • Asians 3:14

In an interesting finding, NFL football programming was at the top of the list for whites, African Americans and Asians.

However, not all audiences spend their entire TV screen time watching live programming. On a daily basis, 24 minutes of viewing time is spent watching playbacks of DVR-​recorded programming. The Nielsen study revealed what many of us know – that VCR use is no longer common. These days, about 38% of all consumers have a DVR in place. In this category, whites have the highest viewing time of 27 minutes. African Americans follow at 20 minutes, Asians at 17 minutes and Hispanics at 14 minutes.

In addition, about 15 minutes of daily viewing time is done through DVD players and 13 minutes is done with the aid of a video game console. In both of these categories, African Americans lead with 18 minutes spent daily on DVD viewing and 16 minutes on video games.

This study did not attempt to measure the influence of TV advertising on audiences. However, it seems that influence could be correlated to the amount of time spent viewing live programming. If that is the case, marketers would do well to target their TV advertising to African Americans and whites. The Hispanic demographic makes programming on Univision its top choice. However, if marketers are seeking to reach Asian American consumers, they might want to consider a format other than TV.

[Source: State of the Media: March 2011. U.S. TV Trends by Ethnicity. Nielsen. March 2011. Web. 11 Apr. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.