In a piece we seem to see several times each TV season, Variety notes the continuing deteriorating adults 18-49 audience for the broadcast networks, and their laments towards not getting paid for their primetime audiences that are 50+.

The question is, how much longer can networks afford to participate in a system that disenfranchises — and discounts — so much of their audience? And while haggling with advertisers about incorporating DVR results — pushing to recognize additional tune-in from time-shifted viewing — are execs ignoring a more obvious battlefield: the huge audience whose attention is perceived as worthless?


Moreover, this discrimination is mostly accepted without question by media outlets — including consumer newspapers every bit as elderly as cable news — that readily buy into the “holy grail” of younger demos.

via – Variety.

But what the media focuses on isn’t the issue, it’s what advertisers want to pay for and they don’t want to pay for viewers 50 and older. Complain about the foolishness or injustice of it all at your leisure, but that’s the way advertisers have been paying for broadcast primetime advertising since the 1970’s.

And how much longer can the networks afford to participate in such a system? Exactly what alternative do they have?

The media should focus on what’s important to the networks’ businesses, which for broadcast primetime is adults 18-49 ratings which drive advertising revenue. That shouldn’t change until the advertisers do.

And in case you’re reading our site for the very first time, TV viewing overall continues to grow very slowly, it’s the broadcast primetime audiences that continue to shrink as viewers migrate to ad supported cable, as they have been for more than a generation.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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