A groundbreaking Nielsen report unveiled this week spotlights the robust media consumption habits of Black individuals around the globe, exposing an obvious disparity between their high engagement and the prevalent feeling of being misrepresented or underrepresented in mainstream media.

The report, covering Black audiences in the U.S., Brazil, Nigeria, the U.K. and South Africa, examined the untapped power and influence Black people have on the media landscape. 

Researchers concluded that the findings underscored the crucial need for genuine representation and pointed to a significant untapped opportunity for media companies, content creators, and brands.

The African and Caribbean-born Black population is increasing in the United States – about one in five Black Americans are immigrants or children of Black immigrants. With such statistics, researchers said Black experiences with media are becoming more globalized, setting the stage for brands and programmers looking to engage with this diverse audience in a rapidly expanding media landscape.

Pointing out the increasing influence of the African continent on Black culture and media habits across the globe, the report authors said in a news release that Black people are engaging more than ever with media content from creators across the Black Diaspora.

Further, Black Americans lead the general U.S. population in media consumption, dedicating 81 hours per week to platforms such as television, radio, and the Internet. For those aged 65 and older, the figure escalates to over 92 hours weekly, which emphasizes the integral role media plays as a connective force for Black communities, according to Charlene Polite Corley, vice president of diverse insights and partnerships at Nielsen.

“When it comes to the media consumption of Black America, it really just means content is key to our culture,” Corley noted in a statement that further highlighted the cultural significance of shared experiences, such as recommending shows, albums or the latest hits are cultural cachet forms.

The report revealed that Black Americans are more likely than the general population to subscribe to three or more streaming services, with 73% paying for multiple subscriptions compared to 60% across all audiences. Importantly, despite the heightened engagement, over two-thirds of Black Americans expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of Black representation in TV and media.


The report aligns with earlier research, including a 2023 Pew Research Center survey, where Black Americans felt that portrayals of their community were more negative than those of other racial and ethnic groups. The economic impact of those sentiments is substantial.  According to Nielsen, 59% of Black individuals prefer brands featuring authentic Black representation.

The report also served as a compelling call to action for the media industry, urging a shift toward authentic representation that aligns with Black communities’ cultural richness and diversity, both in the U.S. and globally. As Black buying power is projected to surpass $2 trillion by 2026, Corley asserted the report’s message as an invitation for continued investment rather than a risk to retreat from.

“Brands and programmers trying to connect with Black America have their work cut out for them to push beyond ‘urban’ and represent the spectrum of African American traditions as well as emerging nuance from the expanding Black immigrant and Black first-generation perspectives,” Corley stated.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored two major biographies, including “Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder’s Mother.”