the second Sunday of March Doldrums with an addition:
the 8:00 to 10:00 averages:
Last month Gary Holmes, a media consultant, who was for six years the Nielsen Company’s Chief Press Officer and VP of Communications in a blog post The 18-49 Bad Habit
When I worked at Nielsen, the story I heard — perhaps apocryphal, perhaps not — was that in the mid-70s a less popular network decided to make lemonade out of lemons by arguing that while it had fewer overall viewers, it had more of the younger viewers that advertisers really wanted. Presto! The birth of the coveted and highly prized 18-49 demographic.
...But is it really true that advertisers only target 18-49 year-olds? I find it hard to believe, especially since consumers in their 50s and 60s have far more disposable income than those in their teens and 20s. The argument against advertising to anyone over age 49 is that while they may have more money, their buying patterns and brand preferences are set early in life, so there is no point trying to get them interested in anything other than adult diapers and denture cream once they get into their 50s.
This conventional wisdom seems particularly outdated now that the Baby Boomers, a generation always open to new experiences, have moved into their 50s and 60s. Nielsen and other researchers have found that Boomers’ brand loyalty is no more unchangeable than other age groups. I know this from personal experience: just a few weeks ago I, a Boomer, switched brands of toothpaste, and I routinely buy different brands of shaving cream, breakfast cereal and gasoline depending on price, convenience and whim (although I have to admit I have been fiercely loyal to my cola brand since I was a preteen.)
Holmes' comments have been picked up in the advertising and media trade press.
What I've done to the ratings chart above is to add a column that clearly offers a comparison of a show's ratings in the 18-49 crowd to the 50+ crowd. I chose to do this on this Sunday to demonstrate what I will call in the future "The "Harry's Law Quandary."ABC
. Last week ABC "won" every hour in the 18-49 ratings and last night tied or won every hour in the 18-49 ratings but 7:00. But last night ABC did not win a single hour in the 50+ ratings.
Relying upon the fickle 18-49 crowd somehow cost "Once Upon A Time" dearly. At that time slot compared to last week there were 0.8 million fewer viewers in the 18-49 crowd and that show had 0.6 million fewer viewers.
In passing, one has to note that "GBC" at 10:00 gained 4.5% from its premier last week in the 18-49 crowd while dropped 7.4% in the 50+ crowd.CBS
is normally #1 in the 50+ crowd. One show to examine is "The Good Wife" at 9:00. For the second week in a row it is #4 in the 18/49 crowd and #1 in the 50+ crowd. Fox
blatantly targets the demo
which in the 8:00 to 10:00 competition gives them 2nd place with their animated series. But those shows attract only 12% of the 50+ crowd which represents around 70% of the viewership. It should be noted that the remaining 0.2 million missing 18-49 crowd at 8:00 were missing from Fox.NBC
. Last night "Harry's Law" was returned to the schedule in the 8:00 time slot. NBC remained dead last in the 18-49 ratings in that hour. But "Harry's Law" moved the network from dead last to first in the 50+ crowd with 33% of the 50+ audience. One can't help but note that in the 8:00 time slot the 18-49 audience dropped by 8% while the already much larger 50+ crowd grew by 18%. And all the growth went to "Harry's Law" which also significantly reduced the 50+ratings for ABC's "Once Upon A Time" and Fox's animated lineup.The Harry's Law Quandary
. Clearly "Harry's Law" in its cast and its subject matter is oriented to the 50+ crowd. The show this season even lost one reasonably popular young cast member Brittany Snow. The 50+ crowd loyally followed the show to Sunday even though all the ratings pundits are telling NBC to cancel it. "The Harry's Law Quandary" applies to "The Good Wife" on Sundays.
The Harry's Law Quandary is that the broadcast networks each year are losing more of the 18-49 audience to alternative activities, particularly the internet. The largest, by far, audience is over 49 years of age. What to do, what to do....