I notice you guys sometimes post the 18-49 ratings for HBO.  But it doesn’t make sense to me that HBO would care about the advertising demographics at all.  They don’t sell advertising and it doesn’t make sense that they would care how old their subscribers are.  Does HBO really care about this number?  Why do you post them?

Frank L.

San Antonio, TX

Good question.  The short answer is “no” and the longer answer is “no, but.”   The same holds true for Showtime and Starz, which like HBO are premium subscription services that don’t sell advertising.

Rest assured that if HBO found a show that lured 5 million new subscribers over the age of 50 without alienating a lot of its subscribers under 50, it would not care if the show pulled a 0.0 rating with adults 18-49.  As you note, HBO doesn’t sell advertising and is focused on is paying subscribers. As long as you’re paying, HBO doesn’t care how old you are.

The 18-49 number can be an indicator for HBO of how DVD sales will go and factors in  when it comes to how much HBO can license shows internationally and to other networks in the future.

The only reason we post the numbers is because they’re available.  The only reason I ever  focus on it is that sometimes the comparisons are interesting.  Like with True Blood which has consistently been the top cable show with adults 18-49 all summer .  One week it was the top 18-49 show on all of TV for the week, beating out  even the broadcast networks.  Even though that doesn’t matter to HBO as far as selling advertising, since HBO is only in about 1/3 of the homes of most cable channels I find it remarkable.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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