Presuming television watching habits based on ethnic background turns out to be a risky business, according to a new study by BIGresearch of Columbus, Ohio.
The study, which examined the media habits of nearly 12,500 white, black and Hispanic Americans, found that minorities don’t automatically tune in first to the networks that target their ethnic group.
“Stereotyping doesn’t hold up very well in the face of these findings,” says Joe Pilotta, BIGresearch’s vice president of research.
So reports Marisa Hoheb contributor of MediaLifeMagazine on May 24, 2004. Let's keep on talking about stereotyping. I'm a thirty-something year-old guy born and raised in Guatemala, living in the U.S. for just a couple of years... So when I lived back in Guatemala of course I constantly watched Spanish soap operas on TV (which by the way are mostly from Mexican origin, some Venezuelan, some Argentinian, and some Brazilian, translated into Spanish), I listened to Spanish music (again, almost 100% of it from Mexico), and always ate my tamales, rice & beans, and tortillas... Oh, and I learned English quite quickly after moving to Austin, TX... WRONG.
Actually, I've been watching American Cable TV since my early teens, have been very much into English music, almost all genres but Country, for basically all my life (yes, yes... I do listen to some Latin Pop-Rock, Salsa, as well as the eventual mariachi and marimba), and even though I love and crave traditional Guatemalan food, I've been going to McDonald's ever since I can remember (yes again, there are very successful franchises down there). Regarding English, I was lucky enough to begin learning it during my pre-school years, though am still trying to get the hang of it. One last thing about McDonald's: I am very glad that they now carry veggie burgers, since I am a vegetarian... talk about breaking a stereotype!
Now, going back to the BIGresearch study, this completely blew my mind: "The No. 1 cable network among those Hispanics surveyed is none other than that Wonder Bread of the airwaves, TV Land."
According to Pilotta, “There are at least two to three generations of American-born Hispanics living in the United States, and they can be just as nostalgic as anyone else."
But even among recent immigrants, TV Land is a major presence.
For one, the vast majority of the programs featured on the network don’t require a sophisticated command of the English language to grasp their generally less-than-intricate plotlines, observes Pilotta.
TV Land may also serve as a teaching tool for those eager to better their English.
Pilotta also sees Hispanic culture as placing great value on humor, making the network’s numerous sitcoms highly appealing.
Regarding new immigrants I would also add that for a percentage of them, many of that same "vintage" programing was aired in their home countries, dubbed into Spanish. They are quite familiar with Bonanza, McGyver, Bewitched, The Love Boat, and The Waltons, all these reminding them of simpler times gone by.
Please do notice that the story mentions the "No. 1 CABLE network"; when it comes to Broadcast TV, Univision is by far the leader, according to the Hispanic-Language Television ranking for the week ending May 23 provided by Nielsen Media Research (click on the link for the complete story below).
Now, all this said, let's keep in perspective that with TV we target psychographic profiles, not necessarily demographic (with broadcast we obtain great reach while with cable we get to target geographically as well, through the use of the available zones). Even worst, targeting by language alone, like in the case of Hispanics, is way off base.
Read the complete story at MediaLifeMagazine.com