What do "The Big Bang Theory," "Family Guy," "The Walking Dead," and "Criminal Minds" have in common? Viewers spent more time watching these shows in prime time last season than any other scripted series on television.
I remember when the upstart Fox News Channel started to challenge CNN in the ratings. It was the late 1990s, and I was in charge of television research at TN Media. Ironically, it was the Monica Lewinsky scandal and President Bill Clinton's impeachment that drew a lot of new viewers to Fox News in 1998/99. But it wasn't until January 2002 that Fox News surpassed CNN as the cable news network rated number one in total viewers - a position it has basically retained ever since.
A few years ago, I turned 55. After aging out of the mythical 18-49 age group five years earlier, I was now moving out of the key 25-54 demo and into the dreaded and nebulous 55+ category (any demographic group with a "+" at the end is, by definition, nebulous). All of a sudden I was no longer in the target audience for products and services that I still used as much as ever, despite having more disposable income than ever. Too many media and marketing executives see me as though I'm part of my father's generation, with the media …
Throughout the history of television measurement, there was a certain level of cohesion when it came to media access and device ownership. From the inception of television itself, through the introduction of cable, through the development of VCRs and DVRs, almost everyone eventually got almost everything.This made measuring who was using each medium and device (although not necessarily how they were using them), relatively simple. But today's media world is much more splintered.
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