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Uh-Oh: Where Have All the 18-34 Year Olds Gone? Reportedly, They Are Certainly Not Watching TV Like They Used To. Says Top NBC Research Guru: This ‘Change in Behavior is Stunning!’

Feb 17, 2015  •  Post A Comment

“Traditional TV usage — which has been falling among viewers ages 18 to 34 at around 4 percent a year since 2012 — tumbled 10.6 percent between September and January,” writes our friend Claire Atkinson in the New York Post.

The article also says, “‘The change in behavior is stunning. The use of streaming and smartphones just year-on-year is double-digit increases,’ Alan Wurtzel, NBCUniversal’s audience research chief, told The Post. ‘I’ve never seen that kind of change in behavior.’”

Atkinson adds, “This season’s steep slide means there are almost 20 percent fewer young adults watching their TV sets in primetime than four years ago.

“In 2011, 21.7 million young adults tuned in to their TV sets. By the end of last month, that figure had fallen to 17.8 million, according to Nielsen figures.

“Adding insult to injury, the median age of the TV audience hit 50 this year. That’s older than the 18- to 49-year-old audience that network executives have banked on for decades.”

One of the most challenging issues the TV industry faces is how to measure all of the viewing that’s not done on traditional TV sets in the home.

To read more about this important issue we suggest you click on the link, above, which will take you to Atkinson’s original story.

5 Comments

  1. Not to worry. TV is not dead, just comatose. It’s got a good 8 or 9 years left in it.

  2. The biggest implication this has is that TV is no longer the land of the young. It’s getting to be the old folks domain. But the TV networks still want the young and will likely try even harder to recover them, attract them, and steal a share of the numbers from everyone else. There will be a gigantic war for this low-hanging-fruit demographic and obscene piles of money will be squandered in the name of capturing this “influential” group. I believe it will be crazy mad scramble and pretty darn stupid strategy.
    Smart money will be to focus on all the groups that are NOT in decline and make sane moves that keep those viewers from fleeing. Of course that means catering to old people and it will likely be seen as an unsexy business model and few will do it. It also might mean a round of consolidation, and content repurposing… less money to work with you know.
    Young people are rushing to non-traditional platforms just for the sake of it being the new thing. Every generation before them did the same thing in one way or another. At some point they will return in some quantity but it won’t be the same levels as before. Other demos like this stuff too, but not in a deep way like the young do. We have to accept that.
    Until this wild new frontier of new media is quantized, standardized, consolidated, corporatized, stabilized, and finally homogenised we won’t know it’s final form. It’s going to be a nice roller-coaster ride and this is the start of the big drop.

  3. TV isn’t so stupid. The 50+’s have all the money. Just ask my kids who come to Bank of Dad regularly.

    If you want to watch the latest blockbuster on your 5.5” inch iPhone via KickAss for free, go for it. I’d rather catch it on my 65” screen in HD…and yes, I’d prefer to pay.

  4. The problem is, the broadcast networks and studios rigidly insist on programming garbage reality shows and other crap that young people are too smart for, and will not waste their time watching. Unless you are gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or a woman 50+, there’s virtually nothing on prime time network tv that appeals to younger demos, especially males. NFL Football is the one glaring exception. Other than that, the closed-to-outsiders studio/broadcast networks system is rapidly digging their own grave into irrelevance.

  5. It’s “Appointment Television” that is dead.

    “Appointment” means you have to WAIT for it.”
    “OMG, waiting is for OLD people!!!”
    “I’d rather see WHAT I want to see WHEN I want to see it. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Acorn, …”
    “Preferably on my 60″ LED HDTV that cost me only five monthly former cable bills to pay off IN FULL.”

    I see hurricane strength winds ahead for programming distributors (aka TV stations and cable networks).

    And merely storm strength winds ahead for programming originators (independent producers, the networks, and many TV stations for local content), as they get used to not peddling truly inane but very profitable commercials every few minutes, with the accompanying reduced ability to pay for talent and resources.

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