Understanding the Multicultural Audience

Randall Park and Constance Wu from “Fresh Off the Boat”

Today’s “Multicultural TV & Video Conference” focuses on the business of television and video intended to appeal to a variety of culturally-specific, as well as culturally-inclusive audience segments. These segments identify themselves by ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, LGBT or cultural background.

Kicking off the new one-day conference with the Opening Keynote “Rolling With the Punches: Launching New Channels for Diverse Audiences” is Oscar De La Hoya, chairman & CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. The Olympic gold medalist and 10- time boxing world champion has been developing media businesses that often feature Latino talent since retiring from the ring in 2009. He will discuss the challenges of his new role, like the building of a new digital video network, RingTV Live.

“The day-long conference will focus on how addressing these culturally varied markets can be very profitable if you understand your audience,” said conference planner Joe Schramm, CEO of the Schramm Marketing Group. “There was a time when multicultural markets were looked upon as a ‘niche,’ but considering the shape of today’s audience, targeting these specific groups can develop new revenue streams if you develop strategies to address them properly.”

According to Schramm, as the methods of delivering digital content continue to diversify, a new perspective on developing an appeal to specific segments of the audience is the future of our business.

THREE CONCEPTS

“There are three concepts that need to be mastered for today’s successful programming,” Schramm said. “The first is the traditional culturally-specific programming that is illustrated by Univision or BET who target individual groups. Then there is culturally-inclusive programming that speaks to the growing assimilation in our society in shows such as ‘Fresh off the Boat’ or ‘Modern Family’ in which they strive to be authentic to their characters living within a broader view of society.

“Finally, there is cross-cultural programming,” he said. “Consider the telenovelas on Univision. Although it’s the most widely distributed genre of programming in the world, even with a U.S. version produced starring Eva Longoria, it was originally designed for a Spanish-speaking audience. Now, it’s everywhere.

“Another growing example of cross-cultural programming is German Bundesliga soccer, which is rapidly gaining a following in the States. The trick for being successful with this kind of programming is knowing how to attract these audience markets to what you are offering them.”

Among panels that will focus on that success is “Brought to You By … A Conversation About Generating Ad Revenues.”

Panelist Gonzalo Del Fa, president of GroupM Multicultural, said this will be one of the most valuable discussions on how to engage with multicultural consumers of video entertainment.

“First, in today’s broadcasting world we need to re-orient our thinking toward Hispanic media. It no longer implies just Spanish-language programming, and should better be seen as Hispanic-targeted content,” Del Fa began. “This means there is no need to use exclusively outlets like Telemundo or Univision to reach Hispanic consumers. If I can look at their previous behavior online, I can put the desired video on The New York Times or NFL.com so I can reach specific audiences through different channels.”

Del Fa’s company conducted an experiment where they ran an intense campaign using only Spanish-language websites, and found they could not go over a 40-percent reach.

“The reason why, we discovered, is that Hispanic people go back and forth between English and Spanish. Back in the day this was called ‘Behavioral Targeting.’ Today we call it ‘Audience Buying’ where you define the audience you are trying to reach,” he said. “What we learned is that it is more the content and the cultural context than the use of the language that counts, and this is the kind of subject we will discuss during this ‘Brought to You By…’ panel.”

Del Fa encapsulates his message saying, “You don’t have to fill your message with tacos and enchiladas to reach me. You just have to be savvy enough to find a way to make me feel represented by what you are putting in front of me as an Hispanic consumer.”

FRESH PERSPECTIVES

Panelist Miguel Santos, general manager of Myx TV, will participate in the session “What’s Everyone Watching? Multi-Platform Programming for Multicultural Audiences.” This conversation unleashes a variety of fresh perspectives for why content providers, networks, producers and advertisers have each chosen to connect with specific segments of TV viewers in today’s dynamic multiplatform environment.

“Myx TV is all about diversity and representing segments of the market that aren’t normally seen in the mainstream media. Asian Americans are woefully underrepresented in the entertainment industry, and when they are represented, it’s with stereotypes,” Santos said.

“Our programming has evolved to truly connect with who Asian Americans really are, not who the mainstream media believes they are. We’re not showing Asians doing math or driving badly; we’re showing them authentically, excelling in a variety of situations and fields. … Our audience knows we’re there for them and advocating for a true representation in the entertainment landscape.”

The sessions “How Do Diverse Voices Matter?” and “Getting To Know You: More Research + More Data = More Viewers?” round out the conference.

Reaching the rapidly growing diverse audience segments is essential to the ongoing success of television and video, and attendees can gain much by understanding these segments.