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More non-blacks are watching ‘black TV’

2017-02-19 11:00

Johannesburg - The latest Nielsen study has revealed that black US TV shows – which the report classifies as “shows with black lead characters” – aren’t only being watched by black people.

In some cases, the report reveals, non-black viewership is actually more than double the black viewership.

It’s the result, Nielsen’s marketing senior vice-president Andrew McCaskill says, of the influence of African-Americans on mainstream America.

“Much of the American narrative lately has focused on a growing cultural divide. But Nielsen’s data on television programming show something different,” McCaskill says.

“Story lines with a strong black character or identity are crossing cultural boundaries to grab diverse audiences and start conversations.

"That insight is important for culture and content creators, as well as for manufacturers and retailers looking to create engaging, effective advertising campaigns.”

Half the viewership of Donald Glover’s FX series Atlanta is non-black, 79% of the viewers of ABC’s hit sitcom Black-ish are non-black, there’s an 89% non-black viewership of This Is Us, and 63% non-black viewers watch Fox’s Pitch, a “dramedy” about the first woman, a black woman, to play in Major League Baseball.

With this year’s Oscar nominees featuring a record number of black candidates across all categories, following pressure after two years of #OscarsSoWhite protests, the report couldn’t be better timed.

In the acting category, six out of 20 nominated performers are black.

In the best documentary category, four out of the five nominated films were made by black film makers.

Black, queer-focused film Moonlight leads with eight nominations overall, and actors Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are vying for the best actor and actress awards.

Read more on:    nielsen  |  atlanta  |  series  |  tv

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