Despite News Industry Crisis, Ethnic Media Continues Growth: Audience at 57 Million, Poll Says

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Photo: Leo Kan/Flickr. (Click to visit)

Photo: Leo Kan/Flickr

In the relentlessly grim landscape of today’s news industry, ethnic media — while affected by lower revenues and cutbacks– seems to be the brightest spot. According to a new poll released by New America Media, in the last four years ethnic media “have picked up 8 million new readers, viewers and listeners, and now regularly reach 57 million people in the U.S.”

82 percent of African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American adults are regularly reached by ethnic media, said NAM executive director Sandy Close in a press release.

The survey, conducted by Bendixen & Associates, a Miami-based polling firm specializing in Hispanic audiences, polled 1,329 African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American respondents. NAM released the results during its National Ethnic Media Expo in Atlanta last week.

“The poll results demonstrate significant penetration for the ethnic media,” Close said.

“The thirst for relevant news and information has made many residents of ethnic communities turn to media outlets that do substantial reporting on their culture, issues and neighborhoods. The increase in ethnic media audiences is incredible, considering the declines that many mainstream media outlets are confronting.”

According to the poll, Spanish-language television has increased its penetration “and is now almost universal,” reaching 86 percent of Hispanics in the nation.

Despite the continuing bad news for newspapers across the country, there have been circulation increases among those aimed at Asian-American readers, NAM said.

Newspapers like Sing Tao, the World Journal, Korea Daily and Korea Times have substantially increased their circulation during the last four years. The reach of weekly and monthly publications that cater to the interests of the Filipino and Asian Indian populations has also expanded.

Spanish-language newspapers were also launched in the last four years. As a whole, they reach more than one third of Hispanic adults in the country.

“What’s clear –said pollster Sergio Bendixen– is that even as the country suffers through a recession, ethnic communities are staying tuned into ethnic media.”

The overall ethnic media growth has not been reflected on the internet for all groups, according to the results.

Spanish-language web sites have increased their reach since 2005, but only one in five of Hispanic adults report visiting them regularly.

This is not the case among Asian-American audiences. “More than half of all Chinese adults indicate that they frequent sites in Cantonese or Mandarin and about one third of Korean and Vietnamese adults report visiting sites in their native languages,” the press release said.

Publications in English aimed at ethnic audiences reach about 2.8 million Hispanic adults and half a million Asian adults. The leading publications include Hispanic Business, Latina and PODER magazines for Hispanics, and Thirteen Minutes, Jade and Audrey magazines for Asians.

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