Monday, November 20, 2006

TV's "Coveted" Demographic

For the life of me, I will never understand why television advertisers are so fixated on the 18-to-49 demographic. This morning, as I perused various online news sources, I came across an article on MSNBC headlined Baby boomers upset TV isn't all about them.

Although the headline suggests this is just more whining from spoiled Boomers, it is clear from the article that the television industry (and I would argue the entertainment industry in general) suffers from myopia when it comes to "older" viewers. Advertisers are charged higher rates for television programming that attracts viewers under age 50, and in particular those under age 40. This means that when Boomers get home from a hard day at the office, turning on the television may not be the relaxing experience they desire. Rather, it may be an exercise in frustration as they wade through program after program aimed at a much younger audience.

The theory seems to be that capturing young adults as customers will create a cadre of loyal buyers for life. But this is ridiculous in the 21st century when "brand loyalty" is an oxymoron. Rather, marketers need to look at who has the inclination and the bucks to buy their products. More often than not, this means the 40-plus age group. Not that I really expect the entertainment industry to suddenly change its focus. But eventually, advertisers may change their minds for them as they become more conscious of the need to appeal to older customers.

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