Media consumption among ethnic groups in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Published by Amy Watson, May 24, 2019
Media, whether it be television, radio, print, or internet related, has become a crucial facet of the lives of nearly all Americans. Although all Americans consume media in some form, the most popular platforms and formats differ across the various ethnic groups. Black/African-American consumers tend to consume the highest amount of television per day, while Hispanic-Americans account for the highest portion of audiobook listeners. White-Americans consume the largest share of DVDs and recorded DVR programming, while Asian-Americans consume the highest portion of content from the online platforms YouTube and Amazon Prime. It is difficult to determine the key factor contributing to these differing consumption patterns, but the availability of certain technologies among different ethnic groups certainly plays a part, as well as simple differences in tastes or preferences.

Black/African-Americans are among the most influential groups when it comes to television consumption and popularity, with New York, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. being some of the biggest markets. ABC is the highest rated network among Black Americans, with 81 percent of consumers rating it highly. Netflix receives similarly favorable ratings from Black/African American consumers demonstrating the group’s growing interest in online streaming and on-demand media content. Sporting events are among the most popular programs for this group with both NFL and NBA programs pulling in millions of viewers. Over 91 percent of Black/African-American adults are reached by radio on a weekly basis, with R&B and Hip-hop being the most popular musical genres.

Los Angeles and New York are the two largest Asian-American television markets, with “The Good Doctor” and “The Big Bang Theory” being among the group’s favorite programs. Similarly to Black/African-Americans, Asian-Americans tend to enjoy sports programming, especially NFL and MLB. The number of Asian-American TV households has risen from around 4 million in 2005 to over 5.4 million as of 2017, but young Asian-Americans heavily favor using their smartphone to access media content, so this number may begin to stagnate in the coming years.

Hispanic-American television media is dominated by two networks: Univison and Telemundo. Telenovelas such as La rosa de Guadalupe and Mi marido tiene más familia are particularly popular among Hispanic-American audiences, with both having multiple episodes per week among the most viewed primetime TV broadcasts. Netflix is also very popular among Hispanic-Americans; in fact, a higher portion of the population has access to Netflix than those who have access to cable TV. Around 57 percent of Hispanic-Americans use FM radio on a regular basis, and 42.3 million Hispanic-Americans listen to the radio each week.

Media consumption in the United States is at an all-time high, and different ethnic groups are becoming greatly influential across various media platforms. Hispanic Americans have a particularly strong presence in the radio industry, while African Americans have begun to exert similar influence in the cable TV market. In order for media companies to truly understand the American market, they must be increasingly knowledgeable of the demands of all ethnic groups or risk missing out on huge consumer markets.

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Ethnic groups in the U.S. - media consumption

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African American media

Asian media

Hispanic media

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