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Engaging African Americans

Apr 24, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The answer is “Girlfriends.” More on that in a moment.

This week we look at African Americans, a segment of society that, in aggregate, devotes more time to the TV medium than all other viewers. We know that African American viewers have a different list of audience favorites, such as “Girlfriends” on UPN. But what about their scores in terms of attentiveness to programming?

We compared engagement scores for programs among both black and non-black viewers with series on the six broadcast networks in prime time. Overall, there are only modest variations between the two groups; engagement scores for individual series are similar among African Americans and the population at large. However, there are some shows that garner more attention among their African American viewers. Veteran UPN comedy “Girlfriends” is the example with the greatest engagement.

Over 5,000 panelists per day in the IAG panel answered questions about the programs, ads and product placements for programs they viewed on the previous night. A key finding has been that increased program attentiveness (“TV Program Engagement”) generates increased commercial recall.

Viewer response data serves as an objective source of information, enlightening us in myriad ways. As Erwin Ephron eloquently stated, “The role of research is to help users make a more informed decision.” Sometimes new information surprises, uncovering hidden insights and dispelling myths. Oftentimes data corroborate longstanding beliefs.”