Category Archives: News

U.S. Broadcast M&A Volume Reaches Three-Year Low
Posted by:Consultant, October - 02 - 2019

Radio accounts for $210.0 million and TV $5.1 million in Q3 2019 deal volume

U.S. broadcast station mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume reached a total of only $215.1 million in the third quarter of 2019 as tracked by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. This is the lowest quarterly deal volume since the fourth quarter of 2016.

In the radio business, the largest deal of the quarter took place in New York, where Emmis Communications Corp. partnered with investment firm Standard General L.P. and founded a newly public company, Mediaco Holding, which will own and operate Emmis FM stations WBLS and WQHT. Standard General will pay $91.5 million in cash and a $5 million note receivable to Emmis, while Emmis will have a 23.7% minority stake in the new company.

The second-largest deal was Stephens Media Group’s acquisition of Mapleton Communications, which agreed to sell its 29 FM and eight AM stations, together with a number of boosters and translators, for $21.0 million.

Another $16.9 million was added to the radio deal volume through the sale of 12 AM stations and seven FM translators from Salem Media Group to Starboard Media Foundation, the parent company of Immaculate Heart Media. The deal was announced in two parts, with four AM stations and three translators sold for $8.2 million in July, followed by eight AM stations and four translators for $8.7 million in August.

In the TV sector, the only major deal of the quarter was the announced sale of KMBH-DT in Harlingen, Texas, from MBTV Texas Valley LLC to Entravision Communications Corporation for $2.9 million.

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Nielsen’s Latest Report Reveals How Technology and Culture Drive Black Buying

African Americans want more for themselves and from corporate America, and they express it with their dollars as they move through the consumer journey, from brand awareness to purchase, as revealed today in Nielsen’s 2019 Diverse Intelligence Series (DIS) Report on African Americans.

It’s in the Bag: Black Consumers’ Path to Purchase explores the non-linear and uniquely technologically driven road that African Americans follow to make purchasing decisions, which ultimately maximizes both online and in-person shopping options. This path highlights several differences in shopping behavior and purchasing when compared to the total U.S. population. The report also includes deeper insights into how culture, socio-economics and business influences how, why and what motivates African American spending in a special co-authored section by advocate and media commentator Angela Rye, CEO and Principal of Impact Strategies.

“At 47.8 million strong and a buying power that’s on par with many countries’ gross domestic products, African Americans continue to outpace spending nationally,” said Cheryl Grace, Nielsen’s Senior Vice President of Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement and co-creator of the DIS Report. “This year, we wanted to help brands and marketers understand the multi-faceted process that Blacks take to buy the products they buy. There are several drivers, but culture is at the center of them all. Further, with their love for technology, they are much more savvy and conscious consumers. They are as we say, ‘woke.’ They pay attention to how companies are speaking to them. As they spend more, they want more for themselves and from the brands they support.”

Dating back to 2011, this is Nielsen’s ninth report highlighting the media consumption, purchasing habits, lifestyle interests and economic advancements of African Americans. It is the third in a theme, released by Nielsen this year following the comprehensive purchasing processes of Asian American and Latinx consumers. Key takeaways from It’s in the Bag: Black Consumers Path to Purchase include:

African Americans are welcoming recipients of advertising across all channels. However, while the trends of the Black buying power and over-indexing in spending continue to increase, companies’ investments to advertise to them have decreased.

  • African Americans are more likely than the total population to agree that advertising provides meaningful information on most platforms, including a mobile (42% higher), television (23% higher), radio (21% higher) and the internet (18% higher).
  • Advertising spend designed to reach Black consumers declined by 5% between 2017 and 2018.

Physical appearance reflects a sense of cultural pride and self-expression in the Black community. This is evidenced by the top spending priorities for African Americans from everyday soap to luxury handbags.

  • African Americans outspend the total market on personal soap and bath needs by nearly 19% ($573.6 million).
  • Men are making an impact on grooming habits, outpacing the total market by 20% on toiletry items.
  • Blacks are 20% more likely than the total population to say they will “pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image I want to convey.”
  • They are also more likely to say they shop at high-end stores including Saks Fifth Avenue (63%), Neiman Marcus (45%) and Bloomingdales (24%).

While online shopping grows, African Americans continue to head to physical stores for the personal touch and feel experience—but with more discerning eyes.

  • More than half (52%) of African Americans find in-store shopping relaxing, compared with 26% of the total population.
  • 55% of Black consumers say they enjoy wandering the store looking for new, interesting products.
  • When shopping, African Americans are more influenced than the total population by store staff (34% more likely), in-store advertising (28% more likely) and merchandising (27% more likely).

The “for us by us” trend of Black-owned brands is profoundly impacting the African American path to purchase and consumer marketplace. Black consumers support brands that align with their lifestyles and values.

  • African Americans dominate the ethnic hair and beauty aids category, accounting for almost 90% of the overall spend.
  • 42% of Black adults expect brands they purchase to support social causes (16% higher than the total population).
  • 35% of African American shoppers are more likely to agree, “when a celebrity designs a product, I am more likely to buy it.”
  • Procter & Gamble (P&G) is the largest advertiser in African American media, spending more than a half-billion dollars ($544.3 million). Five of the top 20 baby care category products come from P&G’s Pampers and Luvs brands.

Soul food drives African American consumers’ top grocery purchases. These consumers are also passionate about the environment, wanting to buy safe, locally sourced food items.

  • African Americans outpace the general market on Quaker grits ($19 million); Louisiana Fish Fry ($11 million); Glory Greens (frozen and fresh, $9.5 million combined) and Jay’s Potato Chips (nearly $2.7 million).
  • 61% say produce is the most important category to buy local, followed by a bakery and prepared foods (56%), eggs (55%) and dairy (52%).
  • Blacks over-index the total population concerned about food safety issues: antibiotic use in animal production (by 20%); artificial ingredients (by 19%) and GMO crop development due to climate change. The biggest worry is rising prices due to trade tariffs (68% Blacks vs. 56% total population).

“Nielsen continues to unearth undeniable data and insights that highlight both the agency and power of Black consumers, and the plethora of opportunities that exist for companies that are focused on nurturing and empowering how they move through the world,” said Jonathan Jackson, former 2019 Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellow in Journalism Innovation at The Nieman Foundation for Journalism and member of Nielsen’s African American External Advisory Council.

Nielsen uses U.S. Census data to determine population estimates that inform its U.S. panels and it’s understanding of consumer behavior. Given the rapid diversification of the U.S. population, an accurate census has never been more important. That’s why Nielsen has signed on as a 2020 Census Official Partner with the U.S. Census Bureau and utilized census data to show the economic and demographic impact of African American consumers. This is the second time the company has leveraged this partnership for the Diverse Intelligence Series, after the 2019 Latinx consumer report, released in August.

For more data and insights, download It’s In the Bag: Black Consumers Path to Purchase at Nielsen’s African American community site. Nielsen invites consumers to weigh in on the discussion using the hashtag #TruthBeTold on social media. Follow Nielsen on Facebook (NielsenCommunity) and Twitter (@NielsenKnows).

SOURCE Nielsen

http://www.nielsen.com

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Major New Podcast Study Reveals Listener Habits, Trust in Hosts
Posted by:Consultant, April - 10 - 2019

National study also contains insights on implications for radio

Most podcast users are millennial males, listen weekly, and engage with podcasts at home, according to a major new study by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) and Futuri Media, a leading audience engagement and sales intelligence technology firm.

Results were presented at the National Association of Broadcasters’ NAB Show on April 9 as part of a panel discussion titled “Radio’s New Analytics: Understanding Listeners, Delivering Results.”

The study, which included a national survey and in-depth interviews, was conducted in February 2019 with 2,000 regular podcast users who listened to podcasts in the past six months, and 18 participants who gave in-depth interviews on their habits. The study did not define podcasting vs. other types of on-demand audio, and respondents self-identified as podcast listeners. The study results suggest that consumers now consider several types of on-demand audio to be podcasts.

While the study was not limited to those who use terrestrial radio, the sample was large enough that it delivered several insights on the radio format preferences of those who also listen to podcasts regularly.

The study found that nearly three-quarters of users have been listening to podcasts for less than three years and, on average, listen to 4 podcasts per week for either 30 or 60 minutes. Users listen to podcasts on multiple platforms, but YouTube is far and away the dominant platform (70%), followed by Spotify (34%), iTunes/Apple Podcasts app (33%), Pandora (30%), and Google Play music app (23%).

Not surprisingly, nearly 80% of survey respondents listen to podcasts on their mobile devices. What is somewhat surprising is that the users listen to podcast most frequently at home (3.9 on a 5-point frequency scale), followed by in vehicles (2.8/5).

Politics and Government podcasts are the most popular, with 15% listing it as their favorite genre. Music was next (11%) followed by interviews/conversations, comedy, sports and recreation, and non-fiction storytelling, cited by 8 – 9% of respondents.

Listeners trust their podcast hosts highly, prefer host-read ads, and look for creative, informative, humorous, and integrated podcast experiences. They want to listen to hosts who are authentic, feel like a friend, and share the users’ passions and beliefs.

The study also found that among radio listeners who listen to podcasts regularly, 25-34 is the top age cell with both spoken word and music formats, with spoken word format attracting a more male audience (73% vs. 27% female), and music formats having a more even, but female-leaning split (51% female to 49% male). The top five favorite radio formats for regularly podcast listeners surveyed were Classic Rock (11%), Hip-Hop/Rap (10.9%), Country (10.4%), News/Talk (9.7%), and Alternative Rock (6.6%)

 

(PRNewsfoto/University of Florida and Futur)

The study, which was supported by Futuri Media and their POSTpodcasting system, was designed and executed by UFCJC Telecommunication Professor and Director of Media Consumer Research Sylvia Chan-Olmsted with the help of doctoral student Ms. Rang Wang on the survey and undergraduate students in a capstone class who helped conduct the interviews. More insights from the study can be found at http://bit.ly/2019podcaststudy.

SOURCE: University of Florida and Futuri Media

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Townsquare Reports Strong Fourth Quarter
Posted by:Consultant, March - 12 - 2019

Townsquare Reports Strong Fourth Quarter: Net Revenue Rises 12% And Adjusted EBITDA Increases 9%

Townsquare Media, Inc. (NYSE: TSQ) (“Townsquare,” the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) announced today financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2018.
“2018 was an exciting year for Townsquare.  We reoriented our business to focus on the profitable growth of Townsquare’s local media and digital marketing solutions offerings, completed two strategic, tuck-in radio acquisitions, initiated a dividend, and delivered strong revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth that exceeded our business plan,” commented Bill Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Townsquare.

Mr. Wilson continued, “In 2018, we delivered net revenue growth of approximately 5% and Adjusted EBITDA growth of over 7%, driven by the impressive growth of our digital businesses, which now total $120 million in annual net revenue and thus nearly 30% of our total net revenue.  Further, we beat our previously issued 2018 revenue guidance. The fourth quarter delivered the strongest year over year growth in 2018, with net revenue growth of 12%, and we saw sequential improvement in our advertising business throughout the year.”

“In addition, Townsquare Interactive added 2,950 net subscribers in 2018 (compared to 1,700 in 2017) and thus ended the year with approximately 15,350 subscribers and nearly $50 million in net revenue.”

The Company also announced today that its board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.075 per share.  The dividend will be payable on May 15, 2019, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on April 2, 2019.

Fourth Quarter Highlights*

  • As compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 on a GAAP basis:
    • Net revenue increased 12.0% and 14.4% excluding live events net revenue
    • Net revenue increased 7.5% excluding political revenue
    • Townsquare Interactive net revenue increased by 28.5%
    • Advertising net revenue increased by 12.6%
    • Live Events net revenue decreased by 41.8%
    • Net loss decreased 39.9%, and net income from continuing operations decreased 350.5%
    • Adjusted EBITDA increased by 9.1%
  • As compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 on a pro forma basis:
    • Net revenue increased 9.7%, and 12.0% excluding live events net revenue
    • Net revenue increased 5.2% excluding political revenue
    • Net loss decreased by 38.6%
    • Adjusted EBITDA increased by 6.4%
  • Diluted net loss per share from continuing operations and diluted Adjusted Net Income Per Share were $1.26 and $0.26, respectively
  • Townsquare Interactive added 850 net subscribers

Full Year Highlights*

  • As compared to the year ended December 31, 2017, on a GAAP basis:
    • Net revenue increased 4.7%, and 8.6% excluding live events net revenue
    • Net revenue increased 2.8% excluding political revenue
    • Townsquare Interactive net revenue increased by 21.4%
    • Advertising net revenue increased by 6.9%
    • Live Events net revenue decreased by 21.1%
    • Net loss increased 207.4%, and net income from continuing operations decreased 102.0%
    • Adjusted EBITDA increased by 7.3%
  • As compared to the year ended December 31, 2017, on a pro forma basis:
    • Net revenue increased 3.7%, and 7.4% excluding live events net revenue
    • Net revenue increased 1.9% excluding political revenue
    • Net loss increased 274.3%
    • Adjusted EBITDA increased by 5.9%
  • Diluted net loss per share from continuing operations and diluted Adjusted Net Income Per Share were $0.03 and $1.08, respectively
  • Townsquare Interactive added 2,950 net subscribers, ending the year with approximately 15,350 subscribers
  • Repaid $11.4 million of long-term debt

* See below for discussion of non-GAAP measures and reconciliations to GAAP measures.

Quarter Ended December 31, 2018, Compared to the Quarter Ended December 31, 2017

Net Revenue 

Net revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, increased $11.7 million, or 12.0%, to $109.0 million, as compared to $97.3 million in the same period last year.  Excluding political revenue, net revenue increased $7.2 million, or 7.5%, to $103.3 million, as compared to $96.1 million in the same period last year.  Excluding live events net revenue, which was budgeted to decline in 2018, net revenue increased $13.4 million, or 14.4%, to $106.6 million, as compared to $93.2 million in the same period last year.

Pro forma net revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, increased $9.6 million, or 9.7%, to $109.0 million, as compared to $99.3 million in the same period last year.  As used in this release, the term “pro forma” means pro forma for our acquisition of three radio stations in Princeton, NJ on July 2, 2018.  Excluding political revenue, net revenue increased $5.2 million, or 5.2%, to $103.3 million, as compared to $98.1 million in the same period last year. Excluding live events net revenue, which was budgeted to decline in 2018, net revenue increased $11.4 million, or 12.0%, to $106.6 million, as compared to $95.2 million in the same period last year.

Net Loss 

Net loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, decreased $10.8 million, or 39.9%, to $16.3 million, as compared to $27.1 million in the same period last year.  Net loss from continuing operations decreased $32.5 million or 350.5%, to a net loss of $23.2 million, as compared to net income of $9.3 million in the same period last year. The decline in net income was driven by an increase in non-cash impairment charges in 2018, due in part to the revision of certain assumptions in the Company’s annual testing for intangible impairment as a result of the Company’s depressed stock price and market capitalization as compared to the prior year, among other factors.  Net income was also impacted by an $11.7 million decline in income tax benefit, primarily related to the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

Pro forma net loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, decreased $10.3 million, or 38.6%, to $16.3 million, as compared to $26.6 million in the same period last year.  The decline in net income was driven by an increase in non-cash impairment charges in 2018, due in part to the revision of certain assumptions in the Company’s annual testing for intangible impairment as a result of the Company’s depressed stock price and market capitalization as compared to the prior year, among other factors.  Net income was also impacted by an $11.7 million decline in income tax benefit, primarily related to the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, increased $2.0 million, or 9.1%, to $23.9 million, as compared to $21.9 million in the same period last year.

Pro forma Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, increased $1.4 million, or 6.4%, to $23.9 million as compared to $22.4 million in the same period last year.

Year Ended December 31, 2018, Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2017

Net Revenue 

Net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018, increased $19.2 million, or 4.7%, to $430.6 million, as compared to $411.4 million in the same period last year.  Excluding political revenue, net revenue increased $11.6 million, or 2.8%, to $420.6 million, as compared to $409.0 million in the same period last year.  Excluding live events net revenue, which was budgeted to decline in 2018, net revenue increased $30.6 million, or 8.6%, to $388.0 million, as compared to $357.4 million in the same period last year.

Pro forma net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018, increased $15.4 million, or 3.7%, to $434.2 million, as compared to $418.8 million in the same period last year.  Excluding political revenue, net revenue increased $7.8 million, or 1.9%, to $424.2 million, as compared to $416.4 million in the same period last year.  Excluding live events net revenue, which was budgeted to decline in 2018, net revenue increased $26.9 million, or 7.4%, to $391.4 million, as compared to $364.6 million in the same period last year.

Net Loss

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2018, increased $21.3 million, to a net loss of $31.6 million, as compared to a net loss of $10.3 million in the same period last year.  Net loss from continuing operations decreased $25.3 million, or 102.0%, to a net loss of $0.5 million, as compared to net income of $24.8 million in the same period last year.  The decline in net income was driven by an increase in non-cash impairment charges in 2018, due in part to the revision of certain assumptions in the Company’s annual testing for intangible impairment as a result of the Company’s depressed stock price and market capitalization as compared to the prior year, among other factors. Net income was also impacted by a $9.0 million decline in income tax benefit, primarily related to the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

Pro forma net loss for the year ended December 31, 2018, increased $22.4 million, to a net loss of $30.6 million, as compared to $8.2 million in the same period last year. The decline in net income was driven by an increase in non-cash impairment charges in 2018, due in part to the revision of certain assumptions in the Company’s annual testing for intangible impairment as a result of the Company’s depressed stock price and market capitalization as compared to the prior year, among other factors.  Net income was also impacted by a $9.0 million decline in income tax benefit, primarily related to the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2018, increased $6.5 million, or 7.3%, to $96.5 million, as compared to $90.0 million in the same period last year.

Pro forma Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2018, increased $5.4 million, or 5.9%, to $97.5 million, as compared to $92.1 million in the same period last year.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of December 31, 2018, we had a total of $61.4 million of cash on hand and $50.0 million of available borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility. As of December 31, 2018, we had $560.5 million of outstanding indebtedness, representing 5.7x and 5.1x gross and net leverage, respectively, based on pro forma Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2018, of $97.5 million.

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Saga Communications, Inc. Reports 4th Quarter and Year End 2018 Results; Net Operating Revenue increased 4.7% for the Quarter and 5.7% for the Year

Saga Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGA) today reported net revenue increased 4.7% to $32.9 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.  Income from continuing operations before tax increased $2.3 million to $6.0 million compared to $3.7 million last year.  Operating income increased $2.1 million to $6.0 million and station operating expense increased $523 thousand to $23.8 million for the quarter.  Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was $0.72/share in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $2.52/share during the same period in 2017.  During the 4th quarter of 2017, the Company recognized an income tax benefit of $11.2 million compared to an income tax expense of $1.7 million for the same period in 2018.  The income tax benefit in 2017 was primarily due to an $11.5 million reduction in our deferred tax liability as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Free cash flow from continuing operations was $5.9 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, compared to $6.6 million for the same period in 2017.

Net revenue increased 5.7% to $124.8 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018.  Income from continuing operations before tax increased $3.1 million to $19.4 million compared to $16.3 million last year.  Operating income increased $2.5 million to $19.7 million and station operating expense increased $6.0 million to $93.7 million for the twelve month period.  Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was $2.30/share for the twelve month period in 2018 compared to $3.77/share during the same period in 2017.  Free cash flow from continuing operations was $19.5 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, compared to $17.4 million for the same period in 2017.

On a same station basis for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, net revenue increased 1.1% to $116.5 million.  Operating income increased $2.6 million to $19.4 million and station operating expense increased $642 thousand to $86.0 million.

The Company had $44.7 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2018, and $40.7 million as of March 11, 2019.  The Company’s total bank debt was $20 million of December 31, 2018, and $15 million as of March 11, 2019.  Including the recently announced $0.30 per share dividend which will be paid on March 29, 2019, the Company will have paid over $64 million in dividends since December 3, 2012.

The results for the twelve month period ended December 31, 2017, were affected by the sale of the Company’s television stations and purchase of radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head, SC on September 1, 2017.

Capital expenditures from continuing operations were $1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 which was flat with the same period in 2017.  For the total year, capital expenditures from continuing operations were $5.9 million in 2018 compared to $6.3 million in 2017.  The Company expects to spend approximately $5.0 to 5.5 million for capital expenditures during 2019.

The Company closed on its purchase of the assets of radio stations WOGK(FM), WNDT(FM), WNDD(FM) and WNDN(FM), from Ocala Broadcasting Corporation, LLC on December 31, 2018.  All the stations serve the Gainesville-Ocala, Florida radio market.

Saga’s 2018 4th Quarter and Year End conference call will be on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.  The dial-in number for the call is 612/288-0329.  A transcript of the call will be posted to the Company’s website as soon as it is available after the call.

The Company requests that all parties that have a question that they would like to submit to the Company to please email the inquiry by 10:00 a.m. EDT on March 12, 2019, to SagaIR@sagacom.com. The Company will discuss, during the limited period of the conference call, those inquiries it deems of general relevance and interest. Only inquiries made in compliance with the foregoing will be discussed during the call.

SOURCE: Saga Communications

www.sagacom.com

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Nielsen Examines The Digital Habits And Impact Of Black Consumers
Posted by:Consultant, October - 12 - 2018

More than half of African Americans were born and raised in the digital age, changing the face of brand engagement, content creation, and consumption in the U.S.

African American consumers are enjoying a remarkable period of influence, cultural expression, and entrepreneurship that is manifesting digitally and trending mainstream, according to global researcher Nielsen. With the highest smartphone ownership and usage of any demographic group and an unyielding desire for self-expression and image control, African Americans are leveraging digital platforms and technology to move from consumers to creators–of platforms, products, content, and financial ecosystems.

According to From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers,” the eighth annual report in Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Series on African American consumers, Black influence on the economy and pop culture has been intensified by participation in the digital universe and adoption of social media and technology platforms. From video streaming and podcasting to gaming and shopping for food online, African Americans are leaning into digital know-how and open-source innovation—with an unprecedented impact on brands, elections and what the country watches, buys and listens to. Black consumers are boldly galvanizing in the digi-sphere to critique, connect, collaborate and create.

Nielsen’s 2018 Diverse Intelligence Series Report “From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers” (PRNewsfoto/Nielsen)

“African Americans are leveraging innovations in technology and social platforms to level the playing field and get ahead in a marketplace unencumbered by corporate barriers to entry,” said Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “African American influence has long resonated cross-culturally, and now it’s being delivered directly from creator to consumer. Give talented, creative people unobstructed access to the world stage and, inevitably, they will shine.”

African Americans, representing 14% of the U.S. population (47.4 million), are using unfettered access to technology as a means to broaden their reach and express themselves on their own terms. Streaming is a primary source of entertainment for African Americans. They stream videos more frequently on all devices than the total population, especially on phones. Black consumers’ music streaming habits played a key role in R&B/Hip-Hop unseating Rock as the No. 1 music genre in the U.S. in 2017.

African American shopping habits also are shifting in the digital age. According to the report, that is incredibly important to brands because African American buying power is at $1.3 trillion currently and based on gains in population, income, and education, it’s estimated to rise to $1.54 trillion by 2022. More than half (54%) of all African Americans have lived their entire lives in the digital age. These tech-savvy Gen X, Millennial and Gen-Z consumers represent a coveted market segment whose interconnectivity is central to their everyday lives—particularly the product purchase cycle. The report urges smart marketers to recognize this shift from consumer to the creator and offers insights on building new inroads to this culturally conscious and digitally native consumer segment.

One digital creator highlighted in the report is actor, activist, and digital gaming co-creator Jesse Williams. He shared, “as a company, Visibility knows that our strengths are also the market’s weaknesses: Black ownership of Black creativity. Technology is an opportunity to make decisions that no longer divorce people from their power. We set out to empower our culture–to lead and learn without fear.”

The report, launched today at the Congressional Black Caucus 48th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., examines how African Americans are leveraging digital to bypass traditional barriers to entry in every arena from finding culturally relevant news, entertainment, products and services to content creation and political engagement.

Key findings include:

  • 90% of African Americans live in a household that owns a smartphone and have a higher weekly reach for social networking on a smartphone (75%), as well as watching video on a smartphone (66%) and audio streaming on a smartphone (45%).
  • 19 million (28%) of Twitter’s 67 million users are African American and 9.3 million (or 20% of all African Americans) are on or self-identify using Black Twitter.
  • African Americans 18+ are increasingly tuning into podcasts, with 70% growth in engagement from 2014 to 2017 (from 2.12 million to 3.60 million).
  • African Americans make up a significant portion of U.S. gamers. Seventy-three percent (73%) of African Americans 13 and older identify as gamers compared to 66% of the total population.
  • Sixty-one percent of African Americans agree that they enjoy learning about technology or electronics products from others (14% higher than for non-Hispanic whites), and 54% agree they enjoy reading about new technology products (8% higher).
  • One of the critical ways African Americans spend time online is food shopping. African Americans over-index against the total U.S. for dollars per buyer spent online in most grocery categories.
  • Meal kits are increasingly becoming an option for busy parents. African Americans over-index against non-Hispanic whites by 21% for agreeing they would consider buying meal kits. Some of African Americans’ most common determinants for buying meal kits are to save time on grocery shopping (40% vs. 29% for non-Hispanic whites), on meal prep and cooking (43% vs. 34%) and on meal planning (42% vs. 33%).

“The breadth of Black America’s digital footprint has grown exponentially with the rise of smartphone technology and increased access to new mediums for content exchange,” said Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code and a Nielsen External Advisory Council member. “The access to technology among Black consumers is a lightning rod for innovation that’s opening doors of opportunity to creativity, entrepreneurship and financial independence.”

For more details and insights, download From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers at www.nielsen.com/africanamericans. Join the conversation on Facebook (Nielsen Community) and Twitter (@NielsenKnows) using #NielsenKnows #Consumers2Creators.

ABOUT NIELSEN’S DIVERSE INTELLIGENCE SERIES
In 2011, Nielsen launched the Diverse Intelligence Series, a robust portfolio of comprehensive reports that focus solely on diverse consumers’ unique consumption and purchasing habits. The series has become an industry resource to help brands better understand and reach ethnic customers. To learn more about Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence research series, visit www.nielsen.com.

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