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DUMBING DOWN TV

April 17, 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post, as broadcast TV ratings continue to decline, the research juggernaut Nielsen is trying to shift ad buyers’ focus away from demographics (the classic 18-49 age group that isn’t watching TV as much) to the “quality of the audience” (psychographics, Chapter 9 in my book).

Wall St. Journal reported that a new Nielsen study reveals that “better-educated households, which usually have higher incomes, watch less daytime and late-night TV than those where the head of household lacks a four-year college degree. The great equalizer in terms of viewing habits, Nielsen found, remains prime time.”

Now, I’m a big believer in researching the quality of an audience. However, the truth is that almost every form of media – magazines, newspapers, television and radio, are losing their battle to the new world of “small screens” – smartphones and tablets. These will be the new access points to people’s minds in the future.

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2 comments

  1. Mark,thanks for the post Although sited as a new study, these findings have been around for a long time. Different programming is going to appeal to different people…thus the need to consider more than just demographics not to mention the consumers changing media consumption habits. Now that conventional viewership is changing, Nielsen is more apt (compelled) to tell the psychographic story rather than rely on simple demographics (which has been their bread & butter for years).


    • Bruce, good point. No this isn’t really new research, but it is fascinating how fast Nielsen is trying to distance themselves from talking about demographics (the standard since the 1950s) and shift the conversation to the quality of the audience (psychographic). Yep, not new, I was talking about this change in 2010 in book. FYI – Currently updating my book for e-book publication this summer. Thanks for reading my blog!



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