“On December 31, 2013, the last of the Baby Boomers will turn 50 years old,” wrote blogger Gary Holmes, “and the most significant generational cohort in history will graduate from the 18-49 TV ratings category,” oft described as “highly prized” or “most coveted.” But, asks Holmes, “With the Boomers moving into a new demographic, isn’t it time for reporters to stop fixating on 18- to 49-year-olds?”
Holmes is a communications consultant in the Greater New York City area, and knows from whenst he speaks. For six years, Holmes was the Nielsen Company’s Chief Press Officer and VP of Communications; and he is in his early 50s. He spoke to us about his blog, which also appears on Media Post.
“I think 18-49 is an outmoded as a catch-all for all reporting. Reporters automatically cite 18 to 49 without thinking ‘Is that really the right demographic for this show? There are plenty of networks that have big audiences who are in the 50 to 65 range, but no one thinks to cite them as a category. They should think more seriously about what’s the more important demo—if they cite one at all. They’d be better off citing the total number of viewers.”
Holmes is skeptical that advertisers are disinterested in consumers 50 and older. As he wrote in his blog, “[They] have far more disposable income than those in their teens and 20s.” The conventional argument is that older people have fixed buying patterns and brand preferences, “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.” But the Baby Boomers are a generation that is open to new experiences; Holmes himself routinely buys different brands of shaving cream, breakfast cereal and gasoline. They have a few brand preferences, perhaps toothpaste and cola, but are not habitually brand loyal.
Besides which, TV viewers over 50 do buy laptops, cell phones, tablets and digital cameras, none of which were available when the Boomers were young and developing their buying habits. “If ad buyers for these products are discounting older viewers,” Holmes wrote in his blog, “they should be fired.”
What do those older viewers watch? The news, strongly. As Holmes described to us, “The ratings for the Republican debates were four times higher in the 50+ demographic than in the 18 to 49 range. So three quarters of the people watching the debates were over 50, but the media persists in quoting ratings at 18 to 49.” Is that simply a matter of political demographics—that younger people lean toward the Democratic party? Not necessarily. “Older viewers are more apt to watch the news than younger ones,” says Holmes. Thus any broadcast news outlet can have poor ratings in the 18-49 demo, but great ratings in total viewership.
What does Holmes watch, himself? “I watch Mad Men, but also Colbert and The Daily Show, and NBC’s Thursday-night comedies, Modern Family, ESPN. And I have a 20 year-old son, and we watch many of the same shows. Goes to show you.”
Sweeps champion NBC has rolled out its spring lineup. The network announced the premieres of the new comedies “Bent” (March 21) and “Best Friends Forever” (April 4), as well as the comedic hidden-camera series “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” (April 4) to its spring lineup. “Community” also will return to the Thursday schedule starting March 15, in the 8 p.m. slot.
The spring schedule represents the highest percentage of original programs in the network’s history with only 13 total hours of repeat programming from Sunday to Friday through mid-May. The announcements were made yesterday by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment.
“Bent” premieres on Wednesday, March 21 (9-9:30 p.m. ET) followed by a second episode (9:30-10 p.m. ET). “Bent” is a romantic comedy about a surfer dude contractor and his no-nonsense, single-mom type-A client, who work together as they renovate her California home. The recently divorced Alex (Amanda Peet, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) is a high-strung lawyer who downsizes into a smaller house and hires Pete (David Walton, “Perfect Couples”), a ladies’ man and recovering gambling addict who desperately needs this gig with Alex to jumpstart his life. The series will continue with original back-to-back one-hour blocks on Wednesday, March 28 and April 4 (9-9:30 p.m. ET and 9:30-10 p.m. ET both nights).
“Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” premieres on Wednesday, April 4 (8-8:30 p.m. ET) followed by “Best Friends Forever” which also debuts on Wednesday, April 4 (8:30-9 p.m. ET). These follow the season finales of “Whitney” and “Are You There, Chelsea.” After a strong sneak-peek debut in January, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” features “sassy septuagenarians who are hip, sexy and ready to party.” The seniors go to the streets to pull pranks on the younger generation in this outrageously funny “Candid Camera” or “Punk’d” style show.
“Community” returns on Thursday, March 15 (8-8:30 p.m. ET) as NBC re-sets the night with “30 Rock” shifting to 8:30-9 p.m. (ET) followed by “The Office” (9-9:30 p.m. ET) and “Up All Night” (9:30-10 p.m. ET). “Parks and Recreation” comes back on Thursday, April 19 (9:30-10 p.m. ET) to finish its season after “Up All Night” has ended its 24-episode original season run in the time period.
“Rock Center with Brian Williams” will also move one hour later on Wednesdays (to 10-11 p.m. ET) starting March 7 for five weeks and then return to 9-10 p.m. (ET) on April 11. “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” returns with original episodes on Wednesday, April 11 (10-11 p.m. ET) leading to its season finale on May 23rd.
“Best Friends Forever,” from executive producer Scot Armstrong (“Old School,” “Hangover 2″), is a new comedy about old friends. Jessica St. Clair (“Bridesmaids”) and Lennon Parham (“Accidentally on Purpose”) star as Jessica and Lennon, best friends who live on opposite sides of the country with the men in their lives. When Jessica is served divorce papers, Lennon convinces her to return home to Brooklyn and back into the apartment they used to share. Soon, the girls fall into old habits: movie marathons and late-night, girl-talk sessions — none of which is good news for Lennon’s live-in boyfriend, Joe (Luka Jones, Upright Citizens Brigade).
U.S. marketers raised their mobile ad budgets by 7-8% in Q4 2011, but may wish to boost them further. Mobile ad outlets, e-readers and tablet computers specifically, nearly doubled in market reach, and in just six weeks.The percentage of U.S. adults who own tablet computers jumped from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January. The percentage of those who own e-book readers jumped the same 10-19%, reports the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
All told, 29% of Americans own at least one of the two devices; that percentage jumped from 18% in mid December.
Pew calls these findings “striking” after stagnant ownership figures between Summer and Autumn 2011. But as Christmas approached, “Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet were introduced at considerably cheaper prices than other tablets.” Among e-readers, some models of the Kindle and Nook fell below $100.
Who are the owners?
After the holiday rush, a full 36% of tablet owners lived in households earning more than $75,000. Almost a third, 31%, is college educated. The highest percentage of ownerships is among adults 30-49, at 27%, but the 18-29 demographic is not far behind, at 24%.
The e-reader story is a bit different. Women outpaced men as new adopters, and now 21% of women own them, versus 19% of men. The average household income was more evenly spread, owing to the lower total cost of ownership.
Consumers understand that free content online is supported by advertising. But the majority at 54% considers 15 seconds the limit for in-stream and online ads, according to a survey by Poll Position. The company conducted a survey of 1,179 registered U.S. voters.
Of those polled, 54% felt that 15 seconds was acceptable, and 12% went as high as 30 seconds. But the numbers climb even higher, when you exclude the 27% who had no opinion. Of those who do have an opinion—
- 73% find 15 seconds acceptable;
- 5% find 30 seconds acceptable.
Interestingly, the figures were fairly close for male versus female voters and Republicans versus Democrats. But some significant demographic differences emerged.
Consumers in the 30-44 age group had the highest tolerance for 15-second ads, at 60.5%. Those in the 65+ demographic are far less patient, and only 40.1% of those consumers find 15 seconds acceptable, versus the 54.1% mean.
Among ethnic groups, 60.3% of white consumers find 15 seconds acceptable, but only 40.1% of Hispanics, and 33.3% of African-American respondents.
While 15 of 24 categories saw ad pages decline in 2011, Media Life reports that books targeting the “haves” versus the “have nots” are doing just fine. Lifestyle and luxury titles all saw gains, in the categories of fashion, recreation, home and general interest. Media Life (quoting data from MagazineRadar) reported that luxury apparel books increased their ad pages 11% in Q3 2011, and luxury magazines in general by 6%. That, opposed to a print book decline of 5.6% for the quarter.
Some of the winners: Departures, at a 43.3% jump; Architectural Digest at 9.1%; W, 5.6%; and Power & Motoryacht at 24.9%.
The reason is simply that upper-class readers weathered and recovered from the recession better than did the middle and lower class. Media Life quoted a Pew study which found that middle class families have lost 23 percent of net worth, versus 12% for the upper class. Those losses for the upper class were largely in property values and stocks—they continue to pay bills, versus lower-income consumers.
Publishers Information Bureau data also reveal that the two books that gained the most ad pages in Q4 2011 were AARP the Magazine with 84.7 percent, and Reader's Digest Large Edition, up 117.8 percent. Parenting magazine with their younger demographics were down 12.8 percent, says Media Life.
While search advertisers experience higher click-through-rates for mobile phone and tablet search campaigns than for desktop search campaigns (at 166% and 137% respectively) according to a November 2011 report from Macquarie Group, those clicks are less likely to convert to sales in a direct relationship to screen size. The report employed Efficient Frontier advertiser data. Efficient Frontier found that mobile conversion rates were at just 31% of the average desktop campaign’s, while tablet conversion rates were much more on par (96%). Meanwhile, the average cost-per-click (CPC) on mobile phone search campaigns was slightly higher (108%) than for desktop search campaigns, although CPCs for tablet campaigns were on average 85% of desktop search campaign CPCs.
Confidence in newspapers and television news increased across most key subgroups, year over year, according to an annual update on institutional confidence from Gallup “Americans’ Confidence in TV and Newspapers News.” The biggest across-the-board improvements were among 30- to 49-year-olds and men. The views of Americans aged 18 to 29 exhibited the most mixed year-to-year change, with this group showing a 10-point increase in confidence in television news but a 10-point decrease in confidence in newspapers.
While members of this group remain among the most confident in each, their views are now on par with those of Democrats and liberals. Republicans also showed inconsistent movement in their opinions, registering a nine-point increase in their confidence in television news and essentially no change in their views of newspapers. Interestingly, considering the highly polarized nature of cable news, all ideological groups increased their trust in television news to about the same degree.
About this chart: Results for this Gallup poll, which were released on June 27, are based on telephone interviews conducted June 9-12, 2011, with a random sample of 1,020 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Television and radio broadcasting contributes to 7% of the nation's GDP, or $1.17 trillion annually, according to an NAB-commissioned study conducted by Woods & Poole Economics, with support from BIA/Kelsey. The report, “An Analysis of the Importance of Commercial Local Radio and Television Broadcasting to the United States Economy,” which was released on Tuesday, also finds 2.52 million jobs attributable to the industry every year.
The study focused on local commercial broadcast radio and television stations including locally owned and operated commercial stations, affiliate stations and independent stations. Noncommercial radio and TV stations and the operations of over-the-air broadcast networks were not part of the analysis, except for networks' owned-and-operated local television stations.
The study calculated that the local broadcast industry employs over 300,000 people directly and in support industries, creating $49.32 billion in GDP annually. Television accounts for almost 187,000 of these jobs, as well as over $30 billion in GDP, while radio employs 118,000 people and contributes a little over $18 billion to the GDP.
The study also examined the associated economic effects of direct employment by local broadcasting has through the consumption of goods and services by industry employees, and concluded that local commercial broadcasting generates almost $135 billion in additional GDP and more than 833,000 jobs nationwide.
The study estimates advertising on local broadcast television and radio stations as a stimulant generating an additional $986 billion in economic activity and supporting 1.38 million jobs.
About this chart: Source: The Nielsen Company "The Cross-Platform Report, Q1, 2011." Watching TV in the home includes those viewing at least one minute (reach) within the measurement period. This includes Live viewing plus any playback within the measurement period. TV in the home includes Live usage plus any playback viewing within the measurement period. Timeshifted TV is playback primarily on a DVR but includes playback from VOD, DVD recorders, server based DVR’s and services like Start Over. Internet figures are from home and work. Hours:minutes for Internet and video use are based on the universe of persons who used the Internet/watched online video via their computers. Video user projection, time spent and composition data based on survey analysis of past 30 day use during the period. The mobile video audience figures in this report include mobile phone users who access mobile video through any means (including mobile Web, subscription-based, downloads and applications). Nielsen’s mobile survey reports mobile video usage for those users 13 and older.
About this chart: Source: The Nielsen Company "The Cross-Platform Report, Q1, 2011" Watching TV in the home includes those viewing at least one minute (r within the measurement period. This includes Live viewing plus any playback within the measurement period. TV in the home includes Live usage plus any playback viewing within the measurement period. Timeshifted TV is playback primarily on a DVR but includes playback from VOD, DVD recorders, server based DVR’s and services like Start Over. Internet figures are from home and work. Hours:minutes for Internet and video use are based on the universe of persons who used the Internet/watched online video via their computers. Video user projection, time spent and composition data based on survey analysis of past 30 day use during the period. The mobile video audience figures in this report include mobile phone users who access mobile video through any means (including mobile Web, subscription-based, downloads and applications). Nielsen’s mobile survey reports mobile video usage for those users 13 and older.