Ageism may stink, but in a business driven by advertising, it comes into play. There's a fairly large focus in the television business on the age demographics and one of the most common focuses is the 18-49 year old demographic.
With much viewing shifting away from the broadcast networks to cable (and the Internet, and video games) it's increasingly harder to get a 5.0 or better Nielsen rating in the 18-49 demographic. This week since Sunday for example, that only happened with five shows (and of course, two of them were airings of American Idol) and only ten shows could do even a 4.0 or better in the demographic.
The Nielsen week starts on Monday, but since there won't likely be any shows on Friday or Saturday that get even a 4.0, here are the 10 shows since this past Sunday that managed a 4.0 or better in the 18-49 demographic:
|Show||Net||Day||HH Rating/Share||18-49 Rating/share||Total Viewers (Millions)|
|American Idol -Tue||FOX||Tue||13.9/22||8.8/23||23.65|
|American Idol -Wed||FOX||Wed||13.4/21||8.8/22||23.34|
|Two and a Half Men||CBS||Mon||8.5/13||5.3/13||13.94|
|Law & Order: SVU||NBC||Tue||13.9/22||4.7/13||13.27|
|The Biggest Loser||NBC||Tue||6.9/11||4.4/11||11.39|
|Dancing With the Stars||ABC||Mon||11.3/17||4.1/11||17.20|
|Rules of Engagement||CBS||Mon||6.6/10||4.1/10||10.40|
We pick on NBC mercilessly at times, but The Office led NBC to the rarified air of a 5.0 rating in the 18-49 year old demographic and NBC had two other shows, Law & Order: SVU and the two hour season finale of The Biggest Loser that did better than a 4.0 in the demographic.
What's impressive about The Office is that such a high concentration of it's overall viewership is in the 18-49 year old range. I won't be able to calculate it exactly for any show above (other than Desperate Housewives) until Tuesday when I have total 18-49 viewers, rather than just the rating, but last week almost 69% of its total viewers were 18 to 49 year olds and I don't expect it will be much different with the results from this Thursday. Last week, almost 49% of American Idol's viewers were 18-49, 38% for CSI, 47% for Desperate Housewives and only around 33% for Dancing with the Stars.
The Office may not have as many overall viewers, but it winds up having more viewers that matter to advertisers than many shows. It's pretty impressive. The only show with a an 18-49 rating of 4.0 or better to come even close to The Office in terms of the percentage of total viewers that is in the 18-49 demo is FOX's Hell's Kitchen with around 62% last week.
While it's true that The Office achieved the 5.0 this week under ideal circumstances - CSI was a repeat and there was no new Grey's Anatomy, last week against a new CSI, The Office still pulled a 4.9 rating in the demographic. CSI had a 5.9, but it also had twice as many total viewers as The Office.
Next week things will change when The Office will face off against both a new Grey's Anatomy and a new CSI. DVRs acrosss the country will be put to good use that night. Mine included, with The Office also up against the CW's Supernatural. And as a bonus for me, that night includes a new episode of LOST.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.