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A new study done by consumer research firm Knowledge Networks suggests that how people use television and their computers often differs based on their ethnicity, as well as on their demographic and income status.

For example, the study found that 70 percent of the polled white homes had a home computer, as compared to 55 percent for African Americans and 47 percent for Hispanics. And while 30 percent of white homes have broadband Internet connectivity, the same figure is 19 percent for African American households and 16 percent for Hispanics.

According to the study, “African American households have more TVs and larger sets, compared to Hispanics and whites. In addition, the medium plays a more important social role among both African American and Hispanic households. The data also shows striking contrasts in personal computer ownership: white households own more PCs and pay more for high-speed Internet connectivity.”

The study also says that “62% of African American households were found to have more than two TVs, as compared to nearly 51% among whites and 44% among Hispanics. And roughly half (49%) of African American homes have large (30 inches or bigger) TV sets, versus 44% for whites and 41% for Hispanics.” In addition, “almost 57% of Hispanic respondents and an equal number of African American respondents agreed that watching television was the household's favorite way to relax, as compared to nearly 53% of white households. More striking, 45% of African American respondents and 50% of Hispanic households said that "much" of their family time is spent with TV, versus 29 percent of white households.”

David C. Tice, a VP with Knowledge Networks, put the numbers into context: "Each household's choice of how to spend its budget for entertainment and education impacts how and whether marketers will be able to reach that household. And a deeper understanding of ownership and usage points toward opportunities for reaching these important groups more effectively."
KC's View:
It certainly makes sense for marketers to understand how demographic groups use various forms of media in order to reach them with their messages. But we have to admit that this data makes us vaguely uneasy…it is as if people are being classified by race with numbers suggesting that they are limited to those choices by their ethnic origin.