January 11, 2009

TV’s 18-49 demographic losing relevance

U.S. TV demographics, particularly the coveted 18-49 age bracket, are losing relevance as networks are succeeding without focusing on them, experts say.

Steve Sternberg of the media firm Magna said while demographic brackets such as the 18-49 range will likely always play a part in TV marketing, they are less important than U.S. TV networks think, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

While demos are still important, the industry needs to move beyond them, Magna's executive vice president of audience analysis said. TV has always been, and will continue to be, a group medium: About 80 percent of homes have only one set on during prime time."

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves agreed that focusing on the key 18-49 demographic is not do-or-die any longer as his network has enjoyed success without doing so.

Our philosophy has always been (that) limiting the world to 18-to-49 was rather short-sighted, Moonves said. I think it's rather ironic that as of today we're in first place in every single demographic, including 18-to-49.

The Times said those in the 18-49 demographic remain the most likely to adopt new trends offered through marketing, making them an invaluable ratings group.