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Growing number of Blacks access TV shows, news online

Stephon Johnson | 4/12/2011, 4:44 p.m.

Recent studies show that African-Americans are increasingly using the screen on their laptops and desktops to receive news and watch television programming.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey, as mentioned in their State of the Media study, found that in 2010, 35 percent of African-Americans used the Internet for news. Overall, 46 percent of Americans say they now get their news online as well.

But news isn't the only outlet that's seeing an increase in online viewers. In Horowitz Associates Inc.'s "State of Cable Digital Media--Multicultural Edition 2011" study, it was revealed that a third of urban consumers (31 percent) watch television content on "alternative platforms" like desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices, tablets or streamed directly from the Internet to television through Other Than TV devices like Apple TV, an Xbox 360 console or a Blu-ray DVD player.

According to the State of Cable Digital Media study, multicultural urban consumers over-index for using alternative platforms for television compared to white Americans. Thirty-six percent of Black consumers, 37 percent of Hispanic consumers and 41 percent of Asian consumers watch television content on alternative platforms compared to 25 percent of white non-Hispanic urban consumers. When the study focused on computers and laptops, 17 percent of Blacks, 22 percent of Hispanics and 35 percent of Asians reported at least weekly television viewing on that platform.

When it came to video-enabled mobile devices like iPads, smartphones and gaming gadgets, self-reported weekly viewership of television content increased from 4 percent in 2010 to 10 percent so far this year. According to Horowitz Associates, Inc.'s study, weekly mobile television viewership is highest among Black and Hispanic urban consumers. Combined, 14 percent of Blacks and Hispanics report at least weekly viewing on a mobile device compared to 7 percent among whites and 5 percent among Asians.

Also included in the report, 61 percent of the African-Americans who were surveyed currently subscribe to cable television, which is an uptick from 59 percent back in 2009.