August 23, 2018

Traditional and new television distributors seeking to retain and acquire customers in an increasingly competitive market should focus on super-serving Black consumers, who have consistently proven to be some of TV’s best audiences, according to Horowitz Research’s FOCUS Black: The Media Landscape 2018 report. Now in its 13th year of publication, FOCUS Black: The Media Landscape tracks the market for traditional and new TV services, content, broadband, and technology among Black consumers. Black TV content viewers surveyed for the study report watching an average of 6.9 hours of TV a day—higher than any other group—and nearly six in ten (58%) Black pay TV subscribers report subscribing to premium channels. Two-thirds (65%) of Black streamers say they feel they are watching more TV content than about five years ago.

Three-quarters (74%) of Black TV viewers report streaming at least some of their TV content, compared to 68% of total market consumers. Black consumers who stream are heavier mobile streamers, spending 23% of their viewing time watching on a mobile device, compared to 17% among average content viewers. They also spend a greater share of their viewing time streaming content outside of the home—20% compared to 14% on average.

Black audiences continue to be content trendsetters, with 58% of Black streamers saying they enjoy being the first to know about new shows before they get popular. In today’s racially charged environment, it is important to Black audiences that they see themselves reflected in the content they watch: According to the report, 64% of Black TV streamers say they will at least check out a show if it prominently features a Black character or cast and 57% say that shows that feature racial and other sociopolitical themes are appealing. They are also more likely than the average streamer to feel that more ethnic and racial diversity on TV can lead to positive social change.

“The market for pay TV services has become increasingly competitive with new providers, like Sling TV, YouTube TV, vying for subscribers who have traditionally paid for cable and satellite” says Adriana Waterston, SVP of Insights & Strategy at Horowitz. “Black consumers have long been some of traditional multichannel’s best customers. Super-serving this valuable and entertainment-oriented audience is critical for any player in the pay TV space.”


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