Monday, September 30, 2002

Last night, I watched a news segment on 60 Minutes that discussed the desire of broadcast networks to appeal to the 18-49 year-old demographic segment. Networks continue to create more and more shows directed at young people, even though the over-49 age group is the fastest growing demographic segment, older people watch more television, and these people are wealthier with more money to spend on consumer products.

The explanation on 60 Minutes given for this phenomenon was television shows are created and programmed to appeal to the available advertising dollars. The advertising money is in promoting movies, video games, fast food, beer, and soft drinks--all things that appeal to younger people, so the show claimed. This sounds like a reasonable explanation; however, the program never gave the commonly-accepted reason why advertising to younger people is so desirable to advertisers and why advertisers will pay a premium to reach younger television viewers.

The reason major advertisers want younger people viewing their advertisements is because younger people are less likely to have developed solid brand preferences. The older someone is the more likely he or she is to drink Coca-Cola, and only Coca-Cola. This brand loyalty makes it harder to sway people to switch brands and try new products.

At no time during the 15 minutes segment did 60 Minutes mention this idea of brand loyalty. Big Media just can't seem to get it right when it comes to reporting on business and economics.