Last month, Mintel was a proud sponsor of the 14th Annual Multicultural Media Forum in New York. It was great to see so many people that devote their time and efforts to understanding the growing multicultural market in the US.  Here are some of the key takeaways.

A Changing Landscape

In a few short years the usage of digital video recorders (DVRs), video on demand (VOD), and broadband video has increased significantly in the US and changed how viewers have assumed control of their programming. Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians are fueling these changes, as they tend to be younger than the general population and are watching more TV than ever before. As seen in Mintel’s Streaming Media: Movies and Television – US 2013 report, Black, Asian, and Hispanic viewers online show elevated usage of streaming media across free usage, rentals, and purchasing. For instance, 53% of Black consumers and 56% of Hispanic consumers said they watched a digital movie or TV show in the past month for free–compared to 37% of whites.

Segmenting is key

Reaching the multicultural audience is not an easy task. It is important to segment the market to figure out what drives viewership. At the same time, there is a difference between targeting for content and targeting for an advertising campaign. Content can’t be micro-targeted because people tend to share. Advertising campaigns, on the other hand, can be micro-targeted, and that’s where messages need to be relevant to the different multicultural sub-segments. However, when targeting these sub-segments (such as bicultural Hispanics in English), one needs to be careful not to alienate the rest of the people who are watching it.

Be a good listener

One interesting campaign highlighted at the conference was from Sesame Workshop. They made an effort to listen to Hispanic moms and embraced those takeaways in order to develop an improved version of Sesame Street. It was also interesting to see how Comcast noticed that one in three US household have a member with a disability and then formulated how they could adapt their product to better serve these individuals. For example, since  their Xfinity screen menus couldn’t be used by blind consumers, they implemented interactive control menus with sound that allow blind people to select the programs they want to enjoy.

The market is constantly changing at a very fast pace and we are moving into uncharted territory. These are exciting times at Mintel, as we continue to work together with our clients to help them to learn more about the multicultural segments and to address the challenges they have in order to best serve their customers.

Juan covers US Hispanic consumers as part of Mintel’s Oxygen Multicultural market analyses. Juan has an extensive research background working on the US Hispanic market and helping clients understand the dynamics of US Hispanics.  In addition to his research background, his first-hand experience moving from his native Bolivia to the US allows him to bring an intimate perspective to his field.

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