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Smaller Media, Changing Targets

By Abbott Wool, Principal of Abbott Wool Media / Marketing, LLC..
"Abby&quot Wool is Publisher of AMIC and operates a media and marketing
consulting firm specializing in Multicultural, Hispanic and Interactive
Marketing. He has published in numerous trade media and is
the most frequent contributor to AMICS's Media Guru

The media world is fragmenting in more and more interesting ways. Especially the means of communication and the audiences with which we communicate.

There is an interesting parallel: when I began in media, 28 years or so ago, the "Big 3" networks commanded 95%+ of the Prime Time viewing audience, and were watched by two-thirds of all TV homes during the average Prime quarter hour. There were only a few independent stations. Cable just meant "Community Antenna TV," a reception enhancement for remote areas or cities dense with tall buildings, like NY's Manhattan Island.

At the same time, the marketing target of many brands was Households. "Women 18-49" was sophisticated segmentation. "Working women" were not yet an issue, "ethnic" population was perhaps 10% in total and the first Hispanic Advertising Agency was still only facing one or two competitors.

Today, the Prime Time rating grossed by the "Big 4 " is typically below 30% and the proportion of American consumers who are "non-ethnic" will soon drop below half.

In other words, advertisers who still rely on network TV to deliver that big, blockbuster audience are not using the right tool. Advertisers who rely solely on the mass marketing to the General Market to sustain their business, are soon to be aiming at only a minority of the United States.


Points to Ponder

Is any of this shocking to you? Let's consider some other statistical details:


  • Basic Cable grosses about a 20% Prime rating. The Turner Networks, CNN + TNT + WTBS + Cartoon, etc. can conceivably sell a "roadblock" (simultaneous) spot that equals an average network's unduplicated rating.
  • By 2009, Hispanics will pass African Americans as the largest US ethnic group


  • By 2020 more than one-third of the population will be Hispanic, African American, Asian American or Native American.


  • By 2050 the US will be mostly "minority": There will be no " majority."


  • But never mind the US as a whole; By 2001 over 200 counties will have an ethnic majority. Not small, rural counties, but all or most of the counties which make up the metros of New York, Los Angles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and othe major markets. These are the usual first choices of advertisers selecting "top markets"

So how does the media fragmentation tie into the ethnic burgeoning? I'm not just going to point out that if you aren't prepared to market to the two largest ethnic groups, at least, then your product or service is going to whither away. Anyone who didn't know that already has figured it out in the last couple of paragraphs.

The irony is that as General Market media fragment more, the rise of ethnic media is characterized by extremely large ratings within their special universes -- ratings that compare to today's average, General Market, Prime time. Spanish network telvision commonly delivers ratings in the 18-25 range for many basic age/gender demographics. These are numbers that would have made the Big 3 proud in the 60's.

Even Black and Spanish radio usually offers at least one station per DMA generating an 8-10 rating for a range of target groups.

So the world is changing and there's a way to keep up with the change.

I wonder why more marketers don't get it?

ReSearch Guru



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