Why We Focus on Adults 18-49: Do Total Viewers Matter? – Episode #75 Starring USA’s Ted Linhart
We’re well acquainted at this point with the fact that focusing on adults 18-49 annoys some people. It’s not like we’re doing it to annoy anyone though, and it’s not our focus. It’s what, at least in broad terms, the industry focuses on. That’s because it’s what the advertisers focus on, particularly with prime-time shows aimed at adults.
Certain shows focus on different demographic segments, some target women, some target younger adults, some target kids, etc., but the prevailing theme there is that it’s the demographics and not total viewers that matter.
While there are philosophical arguments to be had about whether it should be that way, our goal is to gauge relative success based on the way things actually work. How some people wished things worked or think things should work is not an effective way to gauge success.
Don’t believe us? Perhaps you’d rather hear it from Ted Linhart who is VP of Research for USA Network (and Sleuth). Ted’s tweet captured at the top of this post was in response to someone who for some reason thought we (TV by the Numbers) had said Top Chef beat Psych last Wednesday. That was true with adults 18-49 where Top Chef had a 1.3 rating compared to Psych’s 1.2 rating.
In this case we hadn’t actually pitted Top Chef vs. Psych, but someone wanted to know how Top Chef beat Psych when Psych had more viewers. That prompted Ted’s response above.
Ted also noted that it didn’t really matter who was beating who in this case since both shows are doing well.