Black Viewers See Modest Increase in Positive Representation on TV

Tyler James Williams, Chris Perfetti, Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter
(Image credit: ABC/Prashant Gupta)

Seeing Black characters and communities portrayed in a positive way and having Black actors in lead roles positively impacts Black consumers’ decision to watch a show or movie, according to a survey by Horowitz Research, but only 54% said they are seeing more Black actors as lead characters in scripted content and only 51% believe they are seeing more Black characters and community portrayed in positive ways.

In news coverage, only 46% of Black Americans said they’ve seen an improvement of how they are portrayed, with 44% seeing no improvement.

Also: Black Viewers Join Streaming Exodus

When it comes to advertising, 56% said they are seeing more ads that feature diverse people, lifestyle and cultures. That’s important because 66% of Black Americans say they are more compelled to buy from companies that run those types of inclusive ads.

The results come just before the start of Black History Month in February.

“Brands really need to be making sustained, meaningful efforts to resonate with the Black audience year-round, not just one month out of the year,” said Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights and strategy leader at Horowitz Research. ■ 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.