IAG Index: College Students Drawn To Newer Programs

Jul 10, 2006  •  Post A Comment

College students have varied living situations, lifestyles and schedules, but IAG Research has concluded they have one thing in common: Their prime-time TV preferences tend toward newer shows.

IAG surveys include college students, wherever they reside — with family members, in a dorm or in off-campus housing. With more than 5,000 respondents daily, we are able to examine viewer response to TV programs among more targeted audiences, such as college students age 18 to 24.

This group differs from the population in a number of ways. They are obviously younger than the populations at large and, of course, are in school. But they could also be in school and working, or even attending college, working and married with children. Have these differences resulted in their generating a unique “most engaged” series list? In a word, yes.

In our prior columns we have covered such demographics as African Americans and adults 18 to 49, always selecting one series from each network, for example, the program that generated the highest program engagement score on each network. Over time several shows have made their way to at least one of the “most engaged” lists. What is unique for college students ages 18 to 24 is that their list includes only series that have been on the air for less than two years.

The standouts include three series airing for the first time this season: Fox’s “The War at Home,” CBS’s “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and UPN’s “Everybody Hates Chris,” which will air on The CW this fall. Two others launched earlier in 2005: ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and NBC’s “The Office.” To accentuate the point, ABC’s newcomer “Life of Brian” just missed making the list as well.

An interesting finding is that of the five series, four of them happen to be comedies.

Finally, we are making a seasonal change in our rankings, given that the official regular broadcast season has ended. For the next few months our reports for TelevisionWeek will include only series returning for the fall or shows that will air this summer. We will continue to list only one series from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW. Series set to air on The CW this fall will replace the UPN and WB listings.

The accompanying chart shows the most engaging shows among college students ages 18 to 24.