Why do advertisers value the 18-to-49 demographic so much?

It makes NO sense. Baby Boomers control over $1 trillion in discretionary income (Kelly Kahl, Sr. Exec VP for Programming and Operations at CBS). And Boomers are LESS stuck in their brand loyalty ways than X’ers  and Millennials (TV Land, 2008). Yet every day when I get my email update on the overnight prime-time ratings, they are always broken into two columns: total audience and 18-to-49. CBS recently canceled CSI Miami on Sunday nights and replaced it with NYC 22. I tried to watch the first two episodes. I just could not get past the 10-minute mark. I shut off the TV and did some reading instead. I no longer bother to try watching.

CBS’s marketers are probably delirious with joy, since I am WAY past that 49-year-old upper end of desirability. I wonder if the brands buying time on “22” are equally happy.

“Despite the fact that it managed to draw a relatively large audience — averaging about 8.5 million viewers — it was one of the lowest-rated shows among the 18-49 age group,” says contact music.com. And it was expensive to produce. But it was #1 in its time slot and drew a large total audience! From what I’ve seen so far, NYC 22 is getting lower numbers–and not even delivering the 18-to-49 demo.

What’s going on?

About mediainmind

Education: BFA in Painting & Sculpture from California College of the Arts (Oakland); Executive MBA in Executive Management from the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University (Claremont); MA and PhD in Media Psychology from the Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara). Experience: Over 40 years experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations on the client and agency sides of the business; for-profit and nonprofit, as well as government. Special Expertise: The interface between human behavior and the media. It's all about "media in mind." View all posts by mediainmind

4 responses to “Why do advertisers value the 18-to-49 demographic so much?

  • vseitz

    Perhaps the emphasis on the 18-49 year old group is to help them engage in brands to become brand loyal since us baby boomers are very happy with the brands we have.

  • Tim Sunderland

    I’m a baby boomer and although I go only by my own experience, I can tell you that when I do watch TV (very seldom) if it is not on cable, I don’t watch it.

    Additionally, my wife and I fall into that statistic of the 10% of grandparents who are raising a grandchild. That also changes TV viewing habits, and 10% will make a dent.

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