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Ads in Ethnic Media Make Impression


California's ethnic media reach nearly 90% of the state's Latino, African American and Asian American consumers, according to a study released Tuesday.

And in a heads-up to advertisers, the study also showed that about 40% of ethnic consumers polled said they generally pay more attention to advertisements in the ethnic media than in the general market media.

By comparison, 33% said they focused more on general market ads, according to the study released by New California Media, an association of more than 400 print, broadcast and online ethnic media organizations.

The study is at least the third released since 1999 to focus on the growing punch of ethnic media. But industry experts said that despite its expanding reach, the share of advertising dollars going to ethnic media remains below 2% of all advertising dollars spent in the U.S.

Funded with $130,000 from several sources including the James Irvine Foundation and the American Assn. of Advertising Agencies, the study was conducted by Bendixen & Associates, a Florida-based research firm.

Based on interviews with 2,000 Asian Americans, Latinos and African Americans, the study completed in March found that 84% of the respondents had some contact with ethnic publications or broadcast outlets.

More than half (53%) said they prefer ethnic TV, radio or newspapers to their English-language or "general market" counterparts.

There are signs that advertisers are beginning to pay attention to sentiments like those.

At Univision's KMEX-TV Channel 34 in L.A., national advertising has increased in the last six to eight years, said spokeswoman Patricia Ramos, although she could not provide specific figures.

"Several national advertisers are looking to Latino consumers because they have the income to buy their products," Ramos said, citing auto service providers, beauty product companies, food retailers, restaurant chains and beverage makers.

Liam McGee, president of Bank of America California, said the bank has "quadrupled" spending in Spanish language and Asian dialect broadcast outlets for 2002, compared with last year. That outstrips, proportionately, the spending increase for mainstream media, he said.

But the study also found that more than half of the respondents had incomes of under $40,000 and were renters, demographics that would dissuade advertisers of some products, acknowledged Sandy Close, New California Media's executive director.

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