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TV is Nearly 60 yrs Old and So Is Its Median Audience

Updated on March 13, 2011

Television, in the manner that we now know, did not really occur until 1950. That is when the first real TV shows were broadcasted in black and white to millions of TV antennas, perched atop roof tops. There was no cable until mid-60s. TV Guide also appeared then, but shows were few. However, by 1955, the three main networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, had their TV show lineups and it has remained pretty much like it since. Color TV and broadcasts did not happen on a regular basis until 1966, due to expense. Few Americans even owned a color TV then.

Of course, the "baby boomer" generation, those born between 1947-1962, grew up with the technology. There was always a TV in the house. The Radio was for a previous generation. TV was the Baby Boomers. It was the young demographics that many shows were made for, kids from 6-12 yrs old but also enjoyed by "old folks", like Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver, Dennis the Menace, Micky Mouse Club, Donna Reed Show, Ozzie and Harriet.  TV has always targeted youth, however, things are changing.

A majority of the Boomers reached young adulthood in the 60's and 70's. Ad agencies devoted their attention on them, the generation of rock music, anti-war, drugs, long hair. That was their norm. Many did not do drugs but simply accepted what their generation gave them, whether they agreed or not with it.

There are 80 million baby boomers, all have a strong attachment to their tech gaget called TV. They all grew up with it like a brother\sister or babysitter. As they became adults, the torch was passed to another generation, then another, then another.  The oldest of this group are just turning 65 yrs. As a group, they watch TV a lot and control half of the consumer spending in the US. That is a lot of spending power. Advertisers are paying attention. TV show producers are paying attention to TV show viewer demographics. Check this out:

American Idol- half of all viewers are 44 yrs old. NCIS- half are 57 yrs old., CSI- half are 49 yrs. old, Friends- half are 38 yrs. old, E.R. - half are 38 yrs. old. and so on. See a pattern? 

To target the group, more TV shows have older characters because as TV audiences get older, so do characters. It is all about advertising money and association. Boomers watch 6-7 hours daily. Advertising costs vary with the TV show and how many Boomers watch it. Ad space for, The Good Wife, run $108,000 for 30 sec. The same ad during American Idol is $435,000. Many networks are also retooling shows the "boomers" know by name, coming this Fall is Charlie's Angels. Hawaii-Five-O has already been done. Years ago, The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, were brought back.

Advertisers know that appealing to the under 30 yr.old group for new products is generally the rule of thumb, however, the boomers spend 1.5 trillion dollars on just about anything. As a group, most are very tech savvy, they are a group that refuse to appear old because in their 20s, they were the "Now Generation", the "In Generation", they coined the phrase, "don't trust anyone over 30".

The hardest thing in life is getting older and old. The Boomers simply refuse to believe it, despite their image in the mirror. It is their mantra. That is really far out and bitchin!


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      marellen 6 years ago

      I'm one of those boomers and remembers getting our first TV, a black & white Zenith, back in the 50's. I grew up watching all those TV shows you mentioned and must admit, I'm still an avid watcher.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      I watched a lot of TV as a kid, especially from 65-70, my favs were: I dream of jeanie, anything 007ish, Shindig, hullabaloo, star trek, Beatle cartoons. I recall seeing my first, ever, "color" TV show in 65. The Rolling stones were on Hullabaloo singing, Satisfaction. I was amazed. I had only watched black and white TV.

    • schoolmarm profile image

      schoolmarm 6 years ago from Florida

      Great hub!

    • Joshua Kell profile image

      Levi Joshua Kell 6 years ago from Arizona

      I wasn't allowed to watch TV as a child due to my parents religious belief, and moral convictions; still don't watch anything but the news, and a couple of faith based shows. I can't stand television! But. . .I certainly know how you feel. Great hub, voted it up, and sent you some hub love.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      I understand totally, dude.

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      manum 6 years ago

      I might be watching too much television. The reason why I ask myself this question is that I cannot decide which shoes to wear to the shops. So I am wearing Australian sandals, called thongs. It just doesn't feel right because although there is so much money to spend, I cannot spend it all at the grocery store, so I go back to watching television, and there it is, a Volkswagon hatchback driving smoothly down a country highway lined with trees and I think to myself, buy another pair of sandals, I mean thongs, in order to think about buying the car, which in turn leads me to changing the channels to find more TV shows, then I turn into a TV writer and a new series comes up called friends, and I swap thongs for roman sandals and a cardigan in case it is cold, but not a cold case.