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Ethnic Media Here To Stay and Growing -- A National Study on the Penetration of Ethnic Media in America

New America Media, Posted: Jun 09, 2009

+ Executive Summary (pdf)
+ Poll Presentation (pdf)
+ Press Coverage


Atlanta, GA New America Media released A National Study on the Penetration of Ethnic Media in America, a poll on the significant growth of the ethnic media sector and ethnic media's readership, at the Opening Plenary of NAM's 2009 National Ethnic Media EXPO & Awards in Atlanta, Georgia on June 5th.At the Plenary, NAM Executive Director Sandy Close was joined by veteran pollster Sergio Bendixen, Bendixen & Associates; Jennie Chin Hansen, Chair of the AARP Board of Directors; and Dr. Camara Jones, Research Director, social determinants of health and equity, Centers for Disease Control to contextualize and interpret the poll results.


The results and findings in this executive summary are based on a telephone poll of 1,329 African American, Hispanic and Asian American adults that reside in the United States. The total sample is comprised of the following three sub-samples:

African American400
Asian American529

The Asian American sub-sample is made up of the following five Asian ethnic samples:

Asian Indian100

Each of the sub-samples and Asian ethnic samples was designed to be representative of the corresponding adult ethnic population of the United States. Interviews for the study were conducted in the following eight languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Cantonese
  • Mandarin
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Hindi
  • Tagalog

The interviews were conducted between April 24 and May 11 of 2009. The margin of error is 2.7 percentage points for the full sample, 4.9 percentage points for the Hispanic and African American sub-samples, and 9.9 percentage points for each of the Asian ethnic samples. The polling project was commissioned by New America Media and was designed and coordinated by Bendixen & Associates of Coral Gables, Florida.


The polling project was designed to study the 69.2 million African American, Hispanic and Asian American adults that reside in the United States according to estimates based on the U. S. Census. The estimates are as follows:

Hispanics30.9 million
African Americans27.7 million
Asian Americans10.6 million
TOTAL ADULTS69.2 million

The adult population of these three ethnic groups has increased by approximately 8 million since the last national study of the ethnic media was conducted in April/May of 2005. The current adult population of these groups comprises approximately 30 percent of the adult population of the United States.


1. The number of adults reached by ethnic media has increased by approximately 16 percent during the last four years.

Ethnic media now reaches 57 million African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans on a regular basis or 82 percent of all adults from the three most important ethnic and racial groups in the United States.

A similar study sponsored by New America Media in 2005 revealed that approximately 49 million African American, Hispanic and Asian American adults were reached on a regular basis by the ethnic media that year.

2. The penetration of Asian ethnic television has increased substantially since 2005. The percentage of the Asian American adult population that is now reached by television programming targeting Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans and Filipinos has grown by 30 percent over last four years.

Asian Americans report that news coverage about their home countries is one of the major reasons they watch these TV stations frequently. Good examples of new Asian ethnic television stations are KCNS-TV in San Francisco and VATV in the Washington D.C. metro area which cater to the Chinese and Vietnamese communities respectively.

The penetration of Spanish language television led by network giants Univision and Telemundo also grew during these four years and its reach is now almost universal. New Spanish language television stations are now broadcasting in Raleigh, North Carolina and Seattle, Washington.

Even though the availability of African American-oriented channels is limited, the majority of adults from this racial group reported watching BET and other similar channels on a regular basis.

A new television station in the Central Valley of California is unique: Crossings KBTV has programming that caters to the Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Asian Indian and Hispanic communities on a rotating basis.

It is also important to report that the poll indicates that a substantial percentage of all African American, Hispanic and Asian American households have cable or satellite service at home.

3. The reach of Spanish language radio stations increased substantially over the last four years as Latin American immigrants continued to arrive in many non-traditional Hispanic states like North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Washington and New Hampshire.

KTBK (1210 AM) in Seattle and WZUP (104.7 FM) in La Grange, North Carolina are good examples of Spanish language radio stations that began broadcasting during the last four years.

The penetration of African American-oriented radio stations has increased since 2005 and they now reach about two-thirds of all adults from this racial group. A good example of a new African American-oriented radio station is WAGH 101.3 FM in Alabama.

Asian American radio stations have also increased their penetration but they only reach about one-quarter of all adults from this ethnic group. A former Spanish-language radio station, WFTD (1080 AM) in Atlanta changed their format and their language to cater to the Korean community.

4. The popularity of Chinese and Korean newspapers continues to increase and they now reach 70 percent and 64 percent respectively of their adult populations in the United States.

Newspapers like Sing Tao, the World Journal, Korea Daily and Korea Times have substantially increased their circulation over the last four years. A new biweekly newspaper for the Filipino community in the San Francisco Bay Area the FilAm Star was launched in 2007 and has plans to go weekly. The reach of weekly and monthly publications that cater to the interests of the Filipino and Asian Indian populations has also experienced a clear upturn.

Many new Spanish language newspapers have appeared over the last four years and they now reach more than one-third of all Hispanic adults. New publications include Padres & Hijos in Atlanta and La Voz de San Diego.

African American publications sparked by interest in Barack Obamas candidacy and presidency have also increased their penetration. Local weekly newspapers, such as the Oakland Globe, have gained a higher circulation in the Bay Area.

5. The 2009 New America Media poll measured for the first time the penetration of English language publications that cater to the Hispanic and Asian populations. The study reveals that approximately 2.8 million Hispanic adults and one-half million Asian adults mostly Filipinos and Asian Indians are reached on a regular basis by these newspapers and magazines.

The leading English language publications for the Hispanic population are Hispanic Business, Latina Magazine, and PODER Magazine. Those for the Asian population are Thirteen Minutes Magazine, Jade Magazine, and Audrey.

6. The reach of Spanish language and African American-oriented web sites has increased since 2005 but only about one-fifth of Hispanic and African American adults report visiting one of them on a regular basis.

The penetration of Asian language web sites is much greater. More than half of all Chinese adults indicate that they frequent sites in Cantonese or Mandarin and about one-third of all Korean and Vietnamese adults report visiting sites in their native languages.

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