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Consumer Research


New ethnic media consumption trends

New ethnic media consumption trends

A recent study by the Ethnic Advertising and Communications Agency, Media Reach Advertising, has provided important insights into the media consumption and exposure to different platforms by the ethnic audience in the UK.

CEO, Saad Saraf (pictured), said the research showed cultural groups and migrants usually turn to their own media for information and entertainment when they are in foreign countries.
Ethnic groups' consumption of their own specialist media is high as it offers:

• Cultural familiarity - whereby ethnic minority people could see their culture reflected on screen and in the press

• Access to news and entertainment in mother tongue languages for non-English speakers

• Coverage of news from ‘home’

• An ‘ethnic’ perspective on the UK news

• Discussion and coverage of issues relevant to particular ethnic minority communities

On the other hand Consumption of mainstream media is low due to lack of relevant programming coupled with language barriers facing any new group or community. (e.g. Asian, Polish, Chinese, Arab..etc).

The other point of contention is that representation of ethnic people in mainstream media is low especially and even when they appear they are given stereo typical roles or secondary roles (they hardly appear in a primary or central role).

Other highlights:


• There are at least 180 Ethnic titles at present, and the numbers continue to rise with the arrivals of the Eastern European migrants

• Language titles more popular with the 1st and 2nd generation

• Regional titles are adapting to the changing demography with introductions of language pages

• 59% of people from ethnic groups use newspapers to keep up with national news, as opposed to 75% of UK adults


• Penetration of digital radio services is higher among minority ethnic groups (54%) than the UK population overall (44%)

• Usage of digital radio is more prevalent amongst Middle Eastern, Polish, Black Africans and Black Caribbean target groups

• Dedicated radio stations in areas of high propensity of ethnic minority groups (Offering regional strength)

• Most Asian populated cities have their own radio stations (personal medium for locals)

• Radio is an important and indispensable source of news rivalling press and TV (ITC research 2002)

• Due to the nature of Asian businesses (retail, chemists, food), exposure to radio during the day is very high


• There is higher ownership of digital TV among minority ethnic groups (70%) than for the overall population (62%) 

• Very strong viewing patterns amongst (Asians, Arabs, Chinese and Eastern Europeans)

• Television has seen by far the fastest growth in the past 6 years

- 38 channels have been introduced over the last 2 years

- Channels targeting specific genres and communities

• Coverage of Cricket Indian Summer, Mela and specialist programmes brought C4 new and diverse audience

• The newer channels have a young and vibrant image catering to the taste of the young British Asians (Music, Youth, Films, Sports)

• Home access to the Internet is higher among minority ethnic groups (64%) than the UK population overall (54%)


• Minority ethnic groups use the Internet more frequently (14.5 hours per week compared to 9.9 for the overall UK population)

• There are several web sites targeting individual communities E.g. Bollywood film sites, news sites, leisure sites, matrimonial sites, etc

• Internet advertising is good value for money and useful for targeting specific audiences

• Broadband take-up stand at 61% of those with Internet access at home, and 39% of all adults from minority ethnic groups


• Asians are five times more likely to go to the cinema than white mainstream audiences

• Asian and Chinese cinemas have seen tremendous revival with more youth audiences

• The modern Asian films have an equally glossy image and good story lines as mainstream

• Advertising with Asian cinemas is a  growing phenomenon, thus offering the advertiser excellent exposure

• In 2003 Bollywood films accounted for 5 of the Top 10 foreign language films

• The UK is the biggest market for Asian films outside India; Bollywood films regularly make the Top 10 at the weekly UK box-office

• Asians are big cinema consumers, 83% of Asians  go to the cinema, 42% of them go once a month or more. They are more likely to go with groups of friends or family 

• Advertising with blockbusters can be combined with BLT activity, giving the client access at a grass root level

Targeted Outdoor

• Generically provide immense value for branding

• Targeting the ethnic community requires detailed knowledge of the ethnic geographical distribution

• Ethnic language posters are extremely striking and highly memorable

• Ethnic Minority Communities relate and react more positively to posters addressing them in their language

• Increase in use of targeted poster sites in communications

• The use of ambient sites such as lamp posts & prime sites

• Utilise hoarding and banners during events and melas

Events & Festivals

• Festivals like Diwali (Indian festival of lights), Ramadan  (Muslim month of fasting), Eid (Muslim festival following Ramadan), Baisakhi (Indian harvest festival),Notting Hill Carnival are ideal occasions for celebrations and interaction

• Events are very popular with the ethnic communities (ideal social opportunity)

• Events provide the perfect environment to personally speak to the ethnic consumer

• Over the years, sizes of ethnic events have grown, and many current events see a turnaround of more than 100,000 people

• Though local, large ethnic events (Melas) attract visitors from nearby cities

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