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African Americans Watch More TV and Use Second Screen More Than Average American

According to a new study done by IPSOS MediaCT for Facebook IQ, African-Americans watch about 10 hours of TV each week — 1.2 times more than overall U.S. population — and 56% said that they’re constantly active on other devices while watching.

The study also looked into which devices African-Americans use when watching TV, at what points in the program they use their devices, and what they may do on those devices. It found that 67% of African Americans use mobile phones while watching TV; 63% use computers; and 49% use multiple devices to access social media while watching TV. While 65% said they use their second devices during commercial breaks, fully 52% do so during the actual program.

What’s interesting, though, is that based on previous studies, the findings were somewhat predictable. A Nielsen report from 2013 found that African-Americans watch 37% more TV than other demographics, while another Nielsen study from 2014 found that use of the “second screen” — supplemental content provided on social media via mobile devices — was on the rise. Considering the fact that about 50% of mobile phone owners use their phone as their primary internet source, the fact that more and more Americans are using the second screen, and that African-American viewership has been the highest for years, are the findings all that surprising?

“It’s not only that the African-American audience watches more TV, but it’s substantially more — two hours over other groups,” said Ron Simon, head curator at The Paley Center for Media, back in 2013 when the previous study debuted. “It’s known in the industry, but it certainly hasn’t gotten the attention I think that it deserves.”

It now seems, though, that the industry is paying attention. According to Facebook IQ, the buying power of African-Americans is anticipated to grow from $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion in the next few years, making the some 44 million African-Americans living in the U.S. — about 14% of the population — a top priority for brands.

Only time will tell, though, whether or not brands will heed this call to action.