Minorities still under-represented on U.S. TV

Gabriel Miramar-Garcia ©RapidTVNews | 06-06-2012

When it comes to cultural stereotypes in the US, only one-third (32%) of the viewing public finds that TV does a good job with quality, or accuracy, when it comes to the depiction of minorities.

According to new research from Horowitz Associates, a full 27% of White, Black, Hispanic and Asian urban consumers surveyed had negative feelings when it came to multicultural portrayals.

Two in five (40%) respondants said that when it came to quantity, minority representation in media is comparable to the realities of the population, but one-quarter (23%) felt that minorities are underrepresented.

"Multicultural audiences have always been the best customers for television and entertainment," said Adriana Waterston, Horowitz's vice president of marketing and business development. "Tokenism and stereotypical representation of ethnicities in the media will not pass muster among this new general market for media."

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.

"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," said Waterston.