This Study on the Ethnic Breakdown of TV Show Audiences Is Really Surprising

Lead Photo: Photo by Tyler Golden. Courtesy of the CW Network
Photo by Tyler Golden. Courtesy of the CW Network
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When you’re part of an underrepresented group you don’t need a study telling you certain truths. When the Annenberg study was released a few weeks ago announcing most critics were white and male, members of the community weren’t surprised, and the same goes for studies citing what people are watching. One year ago the Motion Picture Association of America released the results of their Theatrical Market Statistics Report which showed that Latinos were buying more movie tickets than any other ethnic group. Now, the Nielsen company, responsible for charting television ratings have revealed the results of a study looking at how different groups watch television.

The majority of Latino audiences watching television is skewing young, with 54 percent being Generation Z (i.e. born between 1997 and 2016) or Millennials. When looking at a breakdown of what series are popular with certain groups, it’s surprising to see that only 24 percent of people surveyed who watch Jane the Virgin identify as Latino. The show’s majority audience identified as non-Hispanic white with 54%. Not surprisingly, the audience for Spanish-language series like Telemundo‘s Señor de los Cielos and Univision‘s Pequeños Gigantes was 98 percent Latino. The study also looked at popular television stars for their mass appeal. In a section looking at the ethnic makeup of fans for a particular celebrity it showed the majority of Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross’ fans were Latino, as they were the predominant fanbase of Jane the Virgin’s Jaime Camil. The ethnic makeup of most Gina Rodriguez fans were non-Hispanic white.

The Nielsen study certainly illustrates how diverse shows and castmembers open things up, but it’s telling that English-language Latino-centric shows aren’t drawing audiences of the same makeup. Is this considered a success or not? Though Latino audiences don’t strictly have to watch Latino shows, is this a lack of support or proof that there’s room for everyone to like different things?

[h/t: Shadow and Act]