More On TV Audience Erosion
In my earlier post, I suggested that as our population ages and the last of the baby boomers migrate out of this demographic, its overall size is not growing as fast as it did, and in fact the older of this demographic -- who are actually reaching their peak earning and spending years - is actually declining.
One adjunct point that I left out of the original post was the question of whether 18-49 demographic actually mattered as much as we count on it to, or whether it was a vestige of some legacy limitation or consideration.
Surely as measurement technologies advance and we have better ad targeting capabilities for television, actual content viewing and response to advertising will outweigh the age metric. In another post on this topic in Gigaom, "Bad news for Nielsen: TV ads to be bought more like online ads," Ryan Lawler quotes Michael Hayes, president of Initiative Digital, suggesting that the 18-49 demographic does not matter because what matters is the buying behavior and intent, regardless of age and gender. If we can measure this -- which is the goal with digital ads and IP enabled set top boxes - then the age demographic is irrelevant.
I could not agree more with these statements. At the same time, even without getting to the highly measurable state of television advertising with new IP-based solutions, it seems that marketers and media buyers would have other important considerations given what we already know of aging demographics of our population.
I don't claim to be a statistician or a sociologist. I am a consumer of data rather than creator or aggregator of it, such as is done by analytics firms like Nielsen and comScore. At the same time, as a marketer, I cannot help but point out another shift in consumer behavior that is noteworthy to marketers. There is some truth in statements like "40 is the new 30," and "50 is the new 40." People are living longer, healthier lives, and older people today live more like their much younger counterparts of before. I suspect very little of this idea has been incorporated into the media buying considerations, given the 18-49 criterion has been static for some time.
As IP connectivity continues to mushroom for TV playback devices, such as is happening in spades already, expect to see the media buying landscape shift as well. How quickly this happens will be subject to the big blocks of consumer demand, content services, and device penetration coming into formation. It will not happen overnight, but much faster than one would have predicted a few years ago, given the tectonic shifts already happening in the media industry.