Over the next five years, local TV audiences will be increasingly multicultural, offering fresh revenue opportunity for local TV stations. In fact, Nielsen predicts that by the year 2020, the multicultural segment (defined as Hispanic, black and Asian) will represent 40% of the US population. By 2040, the multicultural segment will be equal in size to the white population.
“For local TV stations to keep pace with the changing demographics in their markets, they need to think through the implications of a growing multicultural segment,” said Farshad Family, senior vice president of local product leadership at Nielsen. “In many of the top designated market areas (DMAs), for a station to grow its overall audience, it will have to evolve hand-in-hand with its multicultural audience. Local TV audiences expect a familiarity with their local programming that local TV stations will have to continue to meet.”
Forecasts show the white population will be either relatively flat or, in the cases of California, Florida, New York and Georgia, will decline slightly. And even on a micro level, Nielsen predicts that within the top ten counties that will have the most growth in population in absolute terms over the next five years, all of the growth will come from the multicultural segment. These include some of the largest TV markets in the country: Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Miami.
“The multicultural growth story is especially pronounced when we look at local geographies,” said Family. “Consider this: in the top ten states that will have the most growth in population in absolute terms over the next five years, over 98% of all the growth will come from the multicultural segment.”
However, the diverse 'multicultural' segment is also a fragmented one. “Adapting programming to the multicultural segment is particularly challenging as acculturation levels span across a broad spectrum,” said Family. “Brands are looking for ways to speak to young bilinguals, as well as suburban and upscale households in new local markets.”
Local TV stations, the analyst noted, are well positioned to take advantage of this growth opportunity. They have strong ties to the local community and advertisers and they can leverage their deep local knowledge to adjust for the unique changes of their market. “Changing programming and promotions quickly to meet the needs of an increasingly evolving audience can be accomplished best at a local level where stations are nimble and available audience data is incredibly granular,” family concluded.