Study: Multicultural TV audiences want to see more authentically relevant content

(June 18, 2014) 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

R.I.Power Maya Angelou

Born: April 4, 1928, St. Louis, MO Died: May 28, 2014  (age 86)


Check out/Support: hrdcvr on kickstarter

‘A new new, for the new everyone,’ is how Danyel Smith describes her venture to create a concept magazine in the form of a book, ‘an extreme print experience.’ A crowd-funded, one-time published product, she wants to ‘reject the niche’ and ‘reject mainstream’ because ‘it’s about the multi-stream.’ Passion dripped from her eyes as she teared up at the notion that ‘everyone is equally interesting. In my opinion, hrdcvr is poised to revolutionize what we have come to know as journalism and what we call print.”

Click here: hrdcvr


Upper Deck/Lower Deck by Adrian Franks

Check out this great T-shirt and poster series by talented designer/artist Adrian Franks. He creates inspiring designs with an eye towards historical reference.

Adrian Franks

Havard Business Review: Urban Culture Transcends

via HBR by Marlene Morris Towns
Anti-American sentiment poses a challenge to companies seeking to export to some regions of the world, most notably parts of Asia and the Middle East. At the same time, segments within those regions keenly identify with U.S. urban youth culture—the world of hip-hop and rap. Research I conducted among Chinese undergraduates suggests that this identification may mitigate hostility toward the United States and increase people’s willingness to buy American brands—good news for companies interested in extending their global reach.

To lay the groundwork for an overseas study, I developed a questionnaire to measure “urban ID” and tested it on 256 undergraduates in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. The students rated themselves on 30 characteristics that are representative of the urban subculture, including individualism, familiarity with hip-hop slang and fashion, trendiness, resourcefulness, adventurousness, and “attitude.” Next they were asked to indicate the degree to which they considered themselves part of that subculture. A high correlation between their answers to the two parts of the exercise confirmed that the questionnaire is an accurate tool for classifying subjects as either “urban identifiers” or “non–urban identifiers.”

The students also answered questions about their consumer habits. Not surprisingly, urban identifiers reported a much greater likelihood than others to get product information from, and have purchase decisions influenced by, informal and nontraditional sources, such as movies, TV shows, music and music videos, and athletes and other celebrities.

To determine whether the dimensions and effects of urban ID carry over to other countries, I administered the questionnaire and the single-item self-assessment to 110 Chinese university students in Hong Kong and asked them about sources of consumer information and influence. Their scores showed that the characteristics of urban ID in Hong Kong track those in the United States quite closely. And like their U.S. counterparts, the Chinese urban identifiers were likelier than the other students to be influenced by nontraditional sources of product information: movies (11% likelier), music and music videos (10%), TV shows (9%), athletes and other celebrities (8%).

I also asked the Chinese students questions about anti-American sentiment and openness to U.S. brands. The urban identifiers were far less likely to report animosity, and, presumably because of this softening effect, urban ID scores turned out to be a significant predictor of willingness to buy U.S. products: The respondents with the highest scores reported 11% less unwillingness than did those with the lowest.

The marketing power of urban subculture associations has been amply demonstrated in the United States: Sprite, Mountain Dew, and other soft drink companies have made numerous commercials featuring rap artists, for example, and the rapper Busta Rhymes’s 2002 hit “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II” caused a double-digit spike in sales of the cognac in the following months. My findings suggest that companies can capitalize on that power in other countries as well, by learning how to pinpoint receptive urban subcultures and then using certain nontraditional marketing vehicles to reach them.

Marlene Morris Towns is a professor of marketing at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and the academic director of the Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research.