Businesses partner to showcase the Black consumer

By// Julius Rea

BET Networks and 24 partner companies have created a national consumer consortium, as well as #INTHEBLACK — a campaign highlighting the buying power of the Black consumer.

The group will focus on establishing itself as a educational resource for advertisers and companies trying to reach the African-American market.

Partners include HuffPost BlackVoices, Black Enterprise, Burrell Communications, Cable Advertising Bureau, Essence Communications, GlobalHue, Inner City Broadcasting Company, KJLH Radio [Los Angeles], National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Nielsen, North Star Group, National Newspaper Publishers Association, One Solution, Radio One, TV One, Interactive One, Reach Media, Steve Harvey Radio, TheGrio, The Root, The Africa Channel, UniWorld Group, Vibe Media and Johnson Publishing Company — parent of JET and Ebony magazines.

“We are excited to partner with some of the nation’s most influential media and marketing groups to highlight the growing economic opportunity of the Black marketplace,” Debra Lee, BET Networks Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said in the news release.

Conceived a couple months back, the consortium launched officially on June 25 with a full-page ad in The New York Times.

In a Times article, Amy Chozick wrote: “The initiative comes at a time when advertisers have poured money into Spanish-language TV and radio in an effort to reach the growing Hispanic population. Black audiences, meanwhile, have largely been overlooked, despite projected buying power of $1.2 trillion by 2015, a 35 percent increase from 2008, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.”

Donald A. Coleman, chief executive of GlobalHue, told the newspaper: “It’s getting to the point of ridiculousness in terms of the budget allocated to the African-American audience.”

According to Nielsen, media research company and #INTHEBLACK partner, African-Americans have an overall buying power of $1 trillion which mirrors “the combination of a growing population and higher household income.”

BET Networks President of Media Sales Louis Carr said, “I believe the greatest strength of the campaign is the Black consumer.” He added that African-Americans shouldn’t be “pushed aside” as advertisers begin heavy marketing initiative aimed at Hispanic and non-Black groups.

The campaign’s website,, has information about the companies involved, as well as basic consumer information about the subdivisions of the Black market: men, women, GLBT, youth and immigrants.

Looking to the future, Carr said the campaign — after informing advertisers nationwide about the power of the Black consumer — will work to educate Black consumers about their own spending power.//