The marketing research industry needs a TV measurement standard that reflects the multiculturalism of the audience, the impact of genre, the use of technology and the influence of demographics, according to a paper in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

An Examination of Television Consumption by Racial and Ethnic Audiences in the U.S.: Implications for Multicultural Media Planning and Media Measurement was written by J. P. James (Salem State University) and Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren (Baylor University).

“Over the years, there has been controversy over the fact that television audience measurement has not kept pace with the increasing diversity of the United States,” they argued.

The study looks no further than prime-time programming to support its thesis: “A challenge exits for networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox to attract the English-speaking Hispanic, Asian and Black audiences through genre.

“This has been evidenced with shows such as ‘Modern Family’, ‘Fresh off the Boat’, and ‘Black-ish’ – general-market programming that resonates with (and is viewed primarily) by ethnic consumers.”

Despite the commercial success of such offerings, the study found, “advertisers also must understand the population growth and spending potential of the major American ethnic groups”.

“Because ethnic groups often are viewed as monolithic audiences in a media-planning context”, advertisers have yet to segment ethnic audiences by demographics, psychographics and attitudes – “just like they do for the overall, general-market population”.

For media agencies, the study proposed, such a focus could generate a “very lucrative, appropriate and brand-loyal ethnic audience through the appropriate television programming”, instead of current practices of “relegating multicultural media planning solely to ethnic-media networks”.

In the final analysis, the study continued: “All media companies need to deliver ethnic audiences through content and programming to sustain their advertising revenues.”

An Examination of Television Consumption by Racial and Ethnic Audiences in the U.S. appears as a part of a special “What We Know About TV in The Digital Age” section of JAR.

Sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by WARC staff