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CAB To Launch African-American-Based Consumer Research Site

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau this week will unveil a new research site focusing on African American demographic, viewing, and purchasing habits, the organization said Monday.

The site,, will look to target advertising agencies looking for information on the African-American consumer, according to Cynthia Perkins-Roberts, CAB vice president of multicultural marketing & sales development. The comprehensive site features a comprehensive overview of the African-American consumer at a time when the media is developing more content to reach that audience.

"There's talk of [comedian] Steve Harvey and [actress/singer] Queen Latifah getting talk shows and the recent announcement of the [Soul of The South broadcast network], as well as NBCUniversal having to launch two [African-American owned and operated] networks next year," Perkins-Roberts told Multichannel News. "There needed to be an opportunity to talk intelligently about the Black consumer marketplace and its value and how to reach them effectively."

More than 25 companies are providing information for the site, including Nielsen, Turner Broadcasting and BET. 

Perkins-Roberts said she hopes the site can help not only provide advertisers and content providers with relevant information about the African-American community, but also counter some assumptions that exist in the marketplace. For example, she points out that African-Americans watch 40% more television that the general population, but under-index on DVR usage.

"They have DVRs but they're still appointment TV viewers," she said. "They want to see their shows when they premiere because they want to be part of the general conversation about those shows, so the consumption is very different than the general population."

While the current storyline surrounding Hispanics in the media is about growth, Perkins-Roberts said the African-American story is one of development, and she hopes advertisers and content providers will utilize the site to see the value of that development for their own businesses.

"The African-American population is growing, but more importantly its developing," she said. "Even though black consumers have been impacted more by the recession and unemployment, they're still spending money and contributed to the U.S. economy with a higher percentage of income than the total population. We want advertisers, agencies and programmers to take a fresh look and understand the African American consumer."

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.