LOS ANGELES: A full 84% of Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans in California - that's 14.2 million residents - tune in to ethnic TV, radio, and print outlets on a regular basis, according to a new study.Minorities also said they preferred ethnic media outlets for information gathering: Respondents agreed that news is their favorite kind of ethnic television programming, and 63% agreed that they are "more likely to buy a product or service advertised
in an ethnic-oriented outlet.
"The PR industry tends to do the same things to the same audiences," said David Park, spokesman for the study's sponsor. "PR professionals need to realize that there is a huge market out there that they can overlook very easily."
The survey of 2,000 people was commissioned by nonprofit New California Media, an association of 400 ethnic media outlets, and conducted by Miami-based Bendixen & Associates. Respondents were polled in 12 languages, including Laotian and Hindi.
Despite minorities' strong reliance upon ethnic media, the number of languages involved in the study points to one of the greatest challenges for marketers: overwhelming diversity.
"We're not talking about a unified market, we're talking about different ethnic subgroups,
pointed out David Lang of LA-based Lang Pan Chan PR, specialists in Asian demographics. "Within the Chinese community, for instance, we're talking about people with different dialects, different histories, and difficult cultural backgrounds."
That complexity has kept many corporations from exploring ethnic media.
But challenging or not, California's minorities represent a powerful constituency. LA's 7 million Hispanic residents represent $77 billion in buying power. Companies like Bank of America, Sears, and Miller Brewing already spend millions to reach these groups.
"There is no general market in California,
said Roxana Lissa of RLPR in LA. "Just this eclectic group of ethnicities. You need to use the ethnic media to reach your target audience."