There must be a schedule within the CBS PR department for pimping the media for stories about how the adults 18-49 demo is outmoded and how new measures (like the radically different adults 25-54 demo?) are more appropriate because they seem to appear on a semi-monthly basis during the broadcast season.

This time CBS PR hits up Business Week for the spin, and even finds two actual people involved in media buying to provide quotes!

Advertisers still pay a premium to reach the 18-to-49 set, say media buyers like Donchin, “but we’re no longer as fixated on that. We look at who gets the eyeballs and who makes the buying decisions in a household.” It helps, too, that viewers aged 25 to 54—CBS’s strongest demographic—watch 90 minutes more of TV a night than 18- to 49-year-olds, says Brad Adgate, a research executive at the ad buying agency Horizon Media.

Fox can still charge advertisers a hefty premium for shows like Family Guy that have built huge followings among young viewers. But CBS’s large audiences have helped it to an additional 10% or more for 30-second ads compared to earlier this year. As a result, estimates industry analyst SNL Kagan, CBS will generate $4.7 billion in advertising revenues this year, allowing it to sneak past NBC.

For years, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has called advertisers’ fixation on young viewers simplistic. Now, with 18- to 49-year-old Americans among the hardest-hit casualties of the Great Recession, his theory makes more sense. As Moonves told BusinessWeek in an interview: “Someone needs to show me where an 18-year-old consumer buys more than a 50-year-old.” The question for CBS is whether big audiences of graying Americans will jazz advertisers once the economy recovers.

Les Moonves, always on message, which in this case is if you can’t win by the rules in place, try and change the rules!

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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