Unnerved by Young Men

Forget holiday spending and outlooks, you've read them several times by now. What had the biggest impact in advertising of 2003, you ask? It seems the coveted group of men 18 to 34 plummeted in regards to TV viewing this past year.

This past Fall, Nielsen Media Research launched stats uncovering young men tuning out of traditional TV programming. This demographic watched 6 percent less television in this fall's season, whereas prime-time ratings were down to a miserable 7.7 percent.

This group is said to have staying power and spending power. As a result, this launched an industry debate that's kept some blood boiling through Q4 and into the New Year. Of course, advertisers slammed Nielsen for improper sample sizes, methodology changes, and other far-reaching accusations. Then they accused networks of having crappy programming. Nielsen came back with all the facts and figures to back it up.

Now that we know the stats were correct, we must ask; where did all the cowboys go? Before we answer the question, it is imperative for all advertisers to realize the impact alone.



This coveted audience wants more. Seems these boys have strayed toward the likes of PVRs, DVDs, and video games. They are device oriented, more apt to spend time online, and still watch television. The truth is, they aren't going anywhere. The audience has become fragmented. And why not? There are so many choices out there. Advertisers must stand on their toes to strategize new ways on how to attract and captivate this audience as well as others.

Many industry sources say we are supposed to see a 6.9% uptick in advertising as a whole this year equaling $266.4 billion USD. Media should see solid viewership in regard to the upcoming US elections and The Summer Olympics. PVRs and satellite radio are on the rise.

This, my dear readers should be music to our ears. Because of this, many believe media dollars will shift. So advertisers get out your most creative product placement and digital media ideas. Sellers bust out your creative thinking caps. Publishers, there is a demand for current, fresh, and entertaining content.

So what's tops on my hot list for this year?

Media fragmentation

  • There are just too many choices out there. We need to find more ways to reach consumers.


  • With fragmentation there's an even bigger push for integration. For instance, if reality TV is still hot, why not integrate the Web site content? Duh.

    Product placement and new ad units

  • Young men aren't the only ones spending time with DVDs and PVRs. Channel skipping offline and pop up blockers online are growing by penetration numbers.

    "Non-intrusive" rich media

  • Someone needs to figure out what the heck it is and own it... then sell it to us. No one wants to tick off Netizens at large.

    Politics and sports

  • Local and National. From the playoffs and championship games to the Super bowl and the Summer Olympics. Political content is hot and won't even get luke warm till next year.


  • It seems to be taking a hell of a long time. Hot spots will become abundant (thank goodness). GPS and localized services should gear up.


  • Has been hot; will continue to stay hot. However, it needs to grow up. Users want more specific choices. There is too much information out there. Results should be specific. Contextual targeting is on the rise as a result. And give us some localized opps already.

    So I think I know where your money is going to be... put your mouth where your money is. Drop a note on the Spin Board and let's kick off this year with a bang.

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