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Nielsen: African-American Shows Have Large Non-Black Viewership

A Nielsen study released Tuesday finds that shows featuring a predominantly African-American cast or storyline draw an ethnically diverse audience.

The study finds at least half the viewers to seven such shows –black-ish, Secrets and Lies and How to Get Away With Murder among them – are not black. African-Americans account for just 11% of This is Us viewers. Black-ish’s audience is 21% black, the study found.

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Nielsen’s Andrew McCaskill says the information can influence both content creators and advertisers targeting particular audiences. Between 2011 and 2015, broadcast network TV ad spend focused on black audiences increased by 255%, Nielsen says.

“Much of the American narrative lately has focused on a growing cultural divide. But Nielsen’s data on television programming show something different,” says McCaskill, senior VP of communications and multicultural marketing. “Storylines with a strong black character or identity are crossing cultural boundaries to grab diverse audiences and start conversations.”