According to Nielsen data, African-Americans watch 40% more hours of television per month than the general population. Despite being one of TV’s most important audiences, programming that addresses their varied interests are not being offered. Coalition members says that there is plenty of research on what African-American are watching, but virtually nothing on what they would prefer to see on television.
A review of TV programs currently being aired that feature African-Americans in starring roles reveals that most are so-called reality-based shows or re-runs of comedies were once featured on the major four networks. The next largest block of hours of particular interest to blacks consists of re-broadcasts of theatrically released movies (again, mostly comedies) starring black actors.
Conducting a first-time national survey asking African-Americans what they want to see on TV will clearly demonstrate there is demand for a broader range of programs beyond entertainment. WhatIWantToSee.com, which is being supported by various African-American groups and media outlets, plans to get as many participants to “vote” for more TV options as possible during the next two months.
The survey will be available online at www.WhatIWantToSee.com until March 31st. Some of the nation’s leading newspapers, radio programs, magazines and Web sites will be encouraging their audiences to participate. The results will be announced through these same outlets and will also be delivered to key leaders in media, civil rights and academia.