CBS Continues To Court Adults, Baby Boomers

CBS may have won the highly visible 18-49 viewing crown among all broadcasters last season -- but that doesn’t mean it has abandoned its efforts to push its agenda for older TV viewers.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association meeting in Los Angeles on Monday, David Poltrack, chief research officer of CBS Corp. and president of CBS Vision, said the 18-49 viewer group continues to be in a slow decline.

“Eleven years ago, adults between the ages of 18 and 49 represented 62% of the population. Today it is just 55%,” he said. “In two years, it will be 53%.” Nielsen estimates there will be 126.2 million 18-49 viewers -- down 0.5% -- for the 2013-2014 TV season. By contrast, there will be 119.2 million 25-54 viewers -- up 0.5% from the previous season.

Poltrack notes that Baby Boomers are moving out of the 18-49 group and Millennials are moving in. That's not good news for advertisers, given that younger viewers watch less TV. Worse still, many are still living with their parents -- and that number is growing. That means limited interest to TV marketers. Nielsen research shows that 82% of 18 -to-24-year-olds and 56% of 25- to-34-year-olds were living with their parents as of three years ago.

The good news is that CBS has been the leader in older TV viewers -- 25- to-54-year-old viewers -- for many years, and again last season. Furthermore, he says, TV marketers are not relying on just age and gender for their media-planning decisions. “The new big data, single-source services are now allowing advertisers to tie together television viewing from set-top boxes with purchased activity from shopping carts, credit card records and the advertisers' own databases,” he says.

Poltrack then offered up a slide showing how well CBS does in key advertising categories: moviegoing, luxury cars, and cola buyers among all TV viewers:  “As you can see, CBS does better when advertisers use these all inclusive targets.”

“I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of the advertisers are no longer looking at age and gender alone in the media selection process. In fact, one of the major reasons, I believe, for the [Publicis-Omnicom] merger was to consolidate and build analytic capabilities to take on the Googles of the world.”



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