Monday, January 12, 2009

LA Times: TV demos? Dead

I don’t know how much I believe this LA Times story that says TV networks are moving away from their youth-obsessed scheduling, but, if true, it’s a long-overdue switch.

This idea that 20 years olds are somehow more suggestible and can be molded into brand-loyal consumers just seems ridiculous in the modern media marketplace. Plus, they don’t have any money and they don’t watch TV.

It always seemed way smarter to me to focus on those kids’ parents with broad-themed shows that will attract as many of the young ‘uns as possible without turning off the larger audience.

I think the real problem has always been that advertising agencies think that pitching products to 50-year-olds is boring. They set the trend, find a justification and everyone on Madison Avenue and in the network offices jumps on board. Local TV stations have always been somewhat more open-minded about this (at least if 25-54 counts as open-minded).

Key graphs:

None of this means, of course, that the 18-to-49 yardstick is about to become as
obsolete as rabbit-ear antennas. Young people remain the most important early adopters of new products and cultural trends. Their purchase decisions are vital
to marketers in such big categories as consumer technology, movies and cars.
This is true even though some network executives and media buyers think the notion that young people’s brand loyalty must be won early is, in Moonves’ words, “an old wives’ tale.”
The idea was that “if you bought Crest toothpaste when you were 18 years old, when you turned 50 you would still use Crest toothpaste,” Moonves said.
Indeed, Sternberg and others said they knew of no reliable studies backing that theory.


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