The “Tyranny of the 18 to 49,” taking over television - The Explorer: Features

The “Tyranny of the 18 to 49,” taking over television

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Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 3:58 pm | Updated: 2:14 pm, Thu Sep 6, 2012.

There’s a strong message now being circulated on social media.  It’s a photo of acclaimed actress, Kathy Bates - now in her mid 60s - beneath a message to NBC Television:  “You’re cancelling us because our viewers are too old?”

It’s about “Harry’s Law,” one of NBC’s highest-rated shows being cancelled after two seasons.  Seven to nine million people were watching but very few between the ages of 18 and 49 - television’s most coveted audience.

In 2003, educators, marketing and advertising executives and media big shots sat down at USC’s Annenberg School to hold a free-wheeling conference on what is considered the holy grail for mass media, the 18 to 49 year-old audience.

It’s no secret that it’s a young person’s world and the rest of us are just living in it, but the media marketing strategy around those numbers amounts to “The Tyranny of 18 to 49: American Culture Held Hostage,” as Neil Gabler, a senior fellow at the school’s Lear Center put it.

It’s not the 18 to 49 years olds who tyrannize, it’s the advertising fiction that older audiences are hardened in their choices and that their biggest earning and spending years are behind them.

Older folks comprise 38 percent of the population.  In 20-years, it will be 47%. Older folks control 70 percent of the nation’s assets; 50 percent of the disposable income.  And they watch more television than any other age group. What is it about these numbers that advertisers don’t get?

It puts television in the business of ignoring - even driving away - its most devoted viewers.  It puts the network in the service of the very people who don’t watch it and antagonistic to the very people who do.

It’s suggested that the decision makers - the dream makers of our popular culture who are older, are fighting to be relevant; fighting not to be old.

The rest of us see the future and it is older.

I say, bring back Harry’s Law and let us watch one of the best actresses on the planet do her wonderful thing.

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Welcome to the discussion.

5 comments:

  • KatKimmich posted at 9:54 pm on Sat, Jul 28, 2012.

    KatKimmich Posts: 1

    "Tyranny" for sure. I don't know, I normally could care less about stuff like this BUT this time I took it personally. I fall outside of the coveted demographics, I loved Harry's Law and the head actress in charge just happens to be one of the BEST in the business. This got my attention!! Not good for NBC.

     
  • moshane58 posted at 5:21 pm on Wed, Jul 25, 2012.

    moshane58 Posts: 1

    I don't know why some big law firm doesn't take on these network for age discremination.Isn't there a law against this.I watch at least 10 hours aday more then my sons in there 30's.They do watch there watching what there children want.there lucky to get to watch an hour a day of what they want.We are not stuck in the 60's.I watch all kinds of different programming.I'm not an old pruned.I like excitment,sex and scandle like anyone elseNeilsen alse refuses to chane with population.Its all crap.Can someone put a discremination suite against these network for age discremination?We have to pay cable and satelite bills like anyone else.If I don't count them pay my damn satelite bill.

     
  • Daylene posted at 5:06 pm on Wed, Jul 25, 2012.

    Daylene Posts: 1

    Well said! Us Baby Boomers want smart TV and we are the ones with the most disposable income. Kathy Bates rocks her role. Exceptional cast. Exceptional writing. Being Harry's Law back!

     
  • ssb posted at 4:53 pm on Wed, Jul 25, 2012.

    ssb Posts: 1

    I completely agree. Just like Kathy Bates said in Fried Green Tomatoes when she rammed that VW "I'm older and have more insurance." evidently, there is no respect given to the over 50 group and we are the ones with the money, and the time to watch TV. My spending days are far from over. I'm still young enough to be able to change the channel since this network does not appreciate me and what I, along with millions of other over 50s, have to offer!

     
  • phurt posted at 4:51 pm on Wed, Jul 25, 2012.

    phurt Posts: 1

    I am fed up with the advertiser's deciding what people want to watch. Neilson controls much with their calendars that most people just fill in without even watching the shows. There has to be a better way of determining what we are watching. and when. This was one of my favorite shows and the list of actors was great. Please bring back out show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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