21 November 2006

Study: TV's youth obsession backfiring

Here's a piece by AP's television and entertainment writer David Bauder:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they believe that most TV programming and advertising is targeted toward people under 40, the survey said. More than 80 percent of adults over 40 say they have a hard time finding TV shows that reflect their lives.
Mr. Bauder does an excellent job of reporting all sides of the issue. (It's not surprising, because I read him regularly and he always does top-notch reporting by highlighting various viewpoints.) However, for me there's not much new here. That's because I'm knee-deep in this mess. What is said can be found in my book, this blog, and other books and blogs about advertising, media, and Baby Boomers.

If you're new to all this, the article will be illuminating. And there are fresh numbers to crunch:
Advertisers will pay a premium for young viewers: $335 for every thousand people in the 18-to-24 age range that a network delivers, for example. Viewers aged 55-to-64 are worth only $119 for every thousand, according to Nielsen Media Research.
What I do find fascinating has less to do with the article and more to do with its syndication. When a news outlet picks up an AP story it can change the headline, the lede, and has the right to edit the piece for space consideration. Most editors simply leave it alone - but often they feel as if they have to justify their existence - and play around with the headlines.

From "TV's youth obsession backfiring" we get these anti-boomer, ageist variations:

Television's new obsession with youth irritates boomers

TV industry's irritating baby boomers

Baby boomers piqued at TV's youth obsession

Boomers disdain TV's youth mania

And the winner is … MSNBC:

Baby boomers upset TV isn't all about them

In the spirit of fun and games with the news, I've come up with a few of my own reasonable, moderate, neutral headlines for Mr. Bauder's article:

Youthful TV Execs Live in Bubble, Will Bring Down Network Television

Message to Television Advertisers: Don't Trust Anyone Under Thirty

Really Dumb Twenty-Something Media Planners Clueless, Should Be Fired

Young, Myopic TV Execs Think It's All About Them

Oh, how I love to be 'fair and balanced'…

For another take on David Bauder's article, read Brent Green's Boomers Do Not Need Their Own TV Network.

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