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Compared to What?

Nov 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The WB ran in ad in The Hollywood Reporter on Oct. 10 claiming “The Most Concentrated Young Adult Audience in Network Television” and including a chart comparing its audience composition in several demos with that of other broadcast networks. Conspicuously absent was, however, a comparison with UPN, which would have shown that UPN has the exact same audience composition number in adults 18 to 34.
WB spokesman Brad Turell said UPN wasn’t included because the point was to demonstrate to media buyers how The WB’s young audience can balance out buys on the Big 4 networks, which typically overdeliver the 35-plus audience. “The ad reflects our competitive strategy to be the high-quality, young-adult complement to the Big 4 networks,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Nielsen Media Research, which approves all ratings claims made in network ads, had no problem with leaving UPN out. She said that, technically, UPN is considered a limited network because it doesn’t program enough hours to be categorized as a full network. However, in retrospect, Nielsen did have a problem with The WB’s defining “young adults” as 12- to 34-year-olds. “We had some concerns and expressed those back to The WB about the definition of “young adults,” which we think should be 18 and over,” she said. If The WB wants to run the ad again, she said Nielsen would ask to change that reference. Mr. Turell said The WB may run the ad again.
Asked for comment, a UPN spokeswoman said, “UPN doesn’t think it’s necessary to speak to The WB’s actions in this case since The WB’s actions so clearly speak for themselves.”