Syndication TV Retains Millennial Viewers

While much has been made of Millennials leaving traditional linear TV programming, some platforms have done better than others in retaining those young viewers -- specifically syndicated TV shows.

Looking at September -- the start of the TV season -- syndication TV programming pulled in a Nielsen average 0.4 rating among 18-34 viewers -- the same rating as September 2014.

By way of comparison, other traditional linear TV platforms have had declines. For broadcast networks 18-34 programming dropped 15% to a 1.1 average 18-34 rating, while the top 20 cable networks dropped 12% to a 0.22 rating. Among top 50 cable networks, a 7% decline to a 0.13.

The data comes from the Nielsen live program-plus-same day rating, excluding sports and Spanish-language programming.



Many syndicated top-rated shows remain off-network comedy fare, such as Twentieth’s “Modern Family” and Warner Bros’ “Big Bang Theory,” which skew differently in reruns versus their original TV network airings.

“When shows segue into syndication, they tend to bring a younger audience than their concurrent prime-time broadcast run,” says Michael Teicher, EVP of media sales for Twentieth Television.

Teicher says the “Modern Family” median age on ABC is 46 years old, but 44 years old in syndication. “The Big Bang Theory,” while older, drops from 53 CBS in prime time to 51 syndication.

Twentieth Television has eight of the top ten 18-34-rated TV shows in syndication from September 21 through October 4. There is a three-way tie for the top spot among 18-34 viewers -- Warner Bros’ “Big Bang Theory,” Twentieth’s “Modern Family” and “Family Guy,” each with a 1.7 rating

Teicher says that as a result of the solid younger audiences, Twentieth has been seeing gains among new young-skewing marketers “especially in mobile and video gaming." He adds, "Plus, we are attracting larger, and new, theatrical business.”

4 comments about "Syndication TV Retains Millennial Viewers".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 23, 2015 at 1 p.m.

    A median age that is two years younger is not much to crow about. Given the smaller numbers, it might just be measurement error.

  2. ida tarbell from s-t broadcasting, October 23, 2015 at 2:17 p.m.

    What is a hip  Big Bang Theory doing on a dowdy old network like CBS anyway?  The undiminished syndie ratings likely are the result of appearing on other stations in the market that have better young demos.  American Family is such a fraudulent bag of false cliches about gay and old people issues, I've never understood its success.  Family Guy is a bag of cliches too, but the young Demo likes it.  Big Bang Theory is funny even if one is not crazy about the nerds and geeks who people it and the hapless women who have the misfortune of living with them. 

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 23, 2015 at 2:18 p.m.

    Douglas, the two examples cited show a small but meaningful difference in median age which is not a function of research issues but is real. They are talking about numerous telecasts averaged together, which mitigates against a sampling or other errror. Actually, sitcoms in syndication have always played younger than when theyr ran in primetime on the broadcast networks. For one thing, the reruns attract new and often younger audiences who missed the original telecasts. Another factor is scheduling. Most of the syndicated sitcoms that air on independent stations---which is what is being talked about in this report---as opposed to reruns on cable channels----appear opposite local newscasts and/or the network's nightly news---both of which have little appeal to younger adults and teens. This drives many to the sitcoms as a more palatable alternative.

  4. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc., October 23, 2015 at 6:12 p.m.

    Ed's right.

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