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The 55-Plus Viewers Are Big Added Value for Marketers, Especially for Dramas

12/21/2012 02:18:58 PM Eastern

Broadcast television viewers are getting older. This season
finds about 15 million viewers per night age 55-plus watching the five
English-language broadcast networks with 8.6 million of them being women
and 6.4 million being men, according to Nielsen data. Even The CW has
about 430,000 55-plus viewers each night, most of them watching its new drama
series Arrow.

Marketers might not be targeting 55-plus viewers when they
make their ad buys, and they may not be getting any ratings guarantees -- since
that demo is not a negotiated currency -- but within this group, there is likely a
segment of high-income viewers with lots of discretionary income to spend. The
good thing for advertisers is that when they make their buys on the networks,
the 55-plus viewers come along as value added...all 15 million of them.

And what do they like to watch most? The boomer-age king is
CBS drama NCIS, which averages a 14.7
in that demo. Next is NCIS: Los Angeles with a 12.4 rating; third is ABC's
Dancing With the Stars with an 11.6, followed by the DWTS results
show with an 11.1. Fifth in the demo is CBS drama Person of Interest
with an 11.0 rating; CBS dramas Blue Bloods (9.9), Vegas (9.8)
and CSI: NY (8.5) are next, followed by ABC drama Castle
and CBS drama Elementary, both with an 8.3.

Just missing the top 10 are CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory with an 8.1; CBS dramas Criminal Minds and CSI, each with an 8.0 rating in the older demo; The Good Wife
with a 7.9; and The Mentalist with a 7.7.

Big Bang is the
most-watched sitcom among viewers in the older demo, and the group doesn't seem
to flock to comedies quite as much as dramas. No. 2 among sitcoms is CBS' Two
and a Half Men
with a 7.1 rating, but then there's a big drop-off. Rounding
out the top 10 among comedies: ABC's Last Man Standing (5.1); Malibu
Country
(4.8) and Modern Family (4.8); CBS' Mike & Molly
(4.7); ABC's The Middle (4.4); CBS' 2 Broke Girls (4.3); ABC's The
Neighbors
 (3.4); and CBS' How I Met Your Mother (3.1).

Overall, CBS has the most 55-plus viewers with 5.6 million,
followed by ABC with 3.9 million, NBC with 3 million, Fox with 2.1 million and
The CW with its 430,000.

Breaking the genders down by network, CBS draws 3.3 million
women 55-plus, ABC pulls in 2.6 million, NBC gets 1.6, Fox draws just shy of 1
million and The CW gets 250,000 women 55-plus. On the 55-plus male side, CBS
draws 2.3 million, ABC and NBC get 1.4 million each, Fox pulls in 1.1 million
and The CW gets about 180,000.

According to Nielsen numbers, 55-plus viewers are not big on
Fox and NBC comedies. The only Fox comedies to average over a 1.0 rating in the
55-plus demo are Glee (1.6) and The Simpsons (1.0). On NBC, the
highest-rated comedy among this demo group is Go On with a 2.3, while Guys
With Kids
has a 2.1 and The New Normal, a 1.7. Veteran NBC Thursday
night sitcoms fare worse with 30 Rock averaging a 1.6, The Office
at 1.1 and Parks and Recreation posting a 0.9.

The least-watched ABC comedy in the 55-plus demo is Don't
Trust the B---- in Apartment 23
with a 1.6 rating. The most watched drama
on Fox is Bones with a 4.4 rating.

On CBS, the most-watched series among women 55-plus is NCIS
with a 15.3. Others include: NCIS: Los Angeles (12.7), Blue Bloods
(11.4), Person of Interest (11.1) and 60 Minutes (10.5). Most-watched
series among men 55-plus are: NCIS
(14.1), NCIS: Los Angeles (12.1), Person of Interest (10.8), 60 Minutes (10.5) and Blue
Bloods
(8.2).

On ABC, women 55-plus prefer Dancing With the Stars
(15.5); DWTS results show (14.7); Castle (10.7); Grey's
Anatomy
(6.7); and Last Man Standing and Modern Family (each
5.9); while the men are watching Dancing With the Stars (6.9); DWTS
results show (6.7); Castle (5.4); Last Resort (4.6); and Last
Man Standing
(4.2).

For NBC, the most-watched series among women 55-plus are: The
Voice
competition show (5.6), The Voice results show (5.2), Law
&
Order: SVU (5.1), Chicago Fire (4.8) and Dateline
(3.7). For men, it's The Voice competition show (3.7), The Voice
results show (3.3), Revolution (3.2), Law & Order: SVU (3.0)
and Chicago Fire (2.8).

On Fox, the most-watched series among women 55-plus are: Bones
(4.8), Glee (1.9), Kitchen Nightmares (1.5), Fringe
(1.3) and Raising Hope (1.0). And for the men: Bones (3.8), The
Simpsons
(1.5), Fringe (1.3), Glee (1.2) and Raising Hope
(1.1). While the Fox Sunday animation block draws lots of younger men, The
Simpsons
is the only series in that block that gets above a 1.0 rating
among men 55-plus. Among men 18-24 or 18-34, the Fox animation block is among
their most-watched TV series on broadcast.

The CW does not get many 55-plus viewers but they are
turning to the millennial-skewing network to watch two new drama series: Arrow
and Beauty and the Beast. Among women 55-plus, Arrow gets a
1.6 rating and Beauty and the Beast
gets a 0.9. Among men 55-plus Arrow gets a 1.9 rating and Beauty and
the Beast
earns a 0.6.

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