When TV Networks Care But Advertisers Don’t: Older Viewers
Several people have e-mailed or commented about an article on the Wall Street Journal’s web site about the aging television audience. Specifically, in this case more marketing by TV networks spearheading the notion that advertisers should embrace paying for the abundant age 55+ (“alpha boomer”) audience since these are the people who watch the most TV.
Today the story quotes CBS’s research guru David Poltrack, but NBC’s research honcho Alan Wurtzel is pushing this agenda as well. As is our friend Ted Linhart (@TedonTV) who heads up research for USA Network.
While I personally find the topic interesting, I’m not too interested in blogging about it because advertisers don’t care. There are several topics that fall into that pile and quite often they involve complaints about Nielsen measurement that really are just thinly veiled frustration about advertisers not being interested in paying for something networks wish they would pay for.
The Wall Street Journal notes separately (though they are obviously very connected) that TV networks still charge more for shows with younger adult audiences in primetime and that advertisers aren’t interested in paying for the older viewers in primetime. That could change someday, but you can count on that not happening in time for next year’s (2011-12) TV season.
Because we mostly focus on show renewal prospects, we focus on what actually happens and don’t worry about what could or should be. As far as gauging renewal prospects, it doesn’t matter why advertisers aren’t interested in paying for older viewers in primetime, or whether they should be interested. All that matters is that they aren’t interested.
Sometimes lost in all chatter is that advertisers still pay a ton of money, and the networks still are able to afford to put shows on the air. As long as the money is flowing, don’t expect much to change.