Quote EndQuote Cross-Cultural Strategy

Is Traditional Media Losing its importance with Multicultural Communities?

Posted by Alisa | 05.15.15


Canadian Multiculturalism Requires More Diverse Media

Canadian Multiculturalism Requires More Diverse Media


I’ve just returned from my first vacation since starting QEQ just over 8 years ago and what did I learn? There were big changes in the multicultural media world that may make media planners and buyers jobs much easier.


Rogers admitted one reason for the OMNI TV news cuts is that “…a lot of the news [multicultural audiences] get is available on the Internet.” I mean, these days, almost everyone’s going digital and using social media to reach consumers. Aren’t they?


Well, actually, no. Chinese immigrants are still consuming a lot of television and brand managers understand that. They know the power of TV advertising and they understand the draw it still has for many ethnic communities.


“It’s a sad story [about OMNI], but clients are now considering switching budgets from OMNI to Fairchild“, explained a friend who works at Fairchild Television/Talentvision.


Even westca.com, a top Chinese website in Vancouver, understands the need to keep pace with technology. For the past year or so, they have concentrated on building a following on weChat, which is a “must-have” app for almost all cellphone users in Chinese communities. Now claiming to have the #1 weChat position with local Chinese, westca.com  (WeChat ID: westcacom) has proudly presented me with a new rate card, whose prices are more than competitive, a sure sign that they are positioning themselves to be a major player in tech-savvy immigrant communities.


New immigrants also often have a higher level of education, and if we take into consideration the fact that immigrants are well-educated and tech-savvy, the choices for where visible minorities can obtain their news is always changing and expanding.


So how can ethnic media keep up? By becoming more entertaining! Hence OMNI’s decision to morph its news programming into a round-table panel, providing editorialized content, tailored to different communities. Read Ding Guo’s take on the matter. His comments alone will probably spark a lively and healthy debate.


But, we also need to consider the role that multicultural media plays in local communities. It is an integral part of the community and it’s something that mainstream media has yet to master. Therefore it is essential that this kind of programming continues. For example, “Shout-outs to visiting extended families from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are regular features on our 2-hour South Asian prime time show on CHIN-FM,” boasts Mirch Masala, radio show producer, Huns Rangar. Losing that personal touch could deal a major blow to community morale.


One of the good things to come out of the changes in OMNI’s lineup? Ottawa’s Mirch Masala’s version of breaking news may not have stories about South Asian gangs, but  a new Dosa restaurant that’s opened up in the neighborhood? Well, the upside, is that a mention like that, on-air, could bring droves of South Asians who will eagerly line up at your door. Now that’s the kind of ROI advertisers and media buyers would love to have!


So, ethnic media, both traditional and non-traditional, lives on and may it continue to evolve as we keep up with new tech trends and new demands from ethnic viewers.