Like most other television networks, NBC Universal aims for younger
viewers because advertisers and media buyers pay for viewers in the 18 to 49
and 25 to 54 demographic group. But Alan Wurtzel, president of NBCU Research,
says marketers and buyers may be laboring under misconceptions about older
Wurtzel gave a preview to the press on Tuesday of a
presentation he'll be making on Thursday to advertisers and ad buyer
about Alpha Boomers-the older half of the baby boomer generation.
That group of 55 to 64 year olds are the fastest growing
segment of the population and are quickly aging out of the tradition 25-54
demo, making them invisible to ad buyers. Wurtzel says these days, Alpha Bomers
are very active consumers who have a lot of buying power, respond to
advertising, are tech savvy as younger consumers.
These Alpha Boomers are "an important media and
marketing target we can't afford to ingnore," Wurtzel said..
With an median age of 50 in primetime, NBC has a lot of
viewers over the age of 55 that it is not currently monetizing, and even more
for even older news and information programming such as the Nightly News and
Wurtzel said the presentation was not designed to change the
currency of the business overnight. Nor was NBC going to change the way it
programs the network. But the presentation is designed to start a conversation,
he said. "Until Madison Avenue tells us differenty, 18-49 and 25 to 54 is
our currency and we'll try to deliver it."
CBS, the oldest skewing network, has previously made an
issue of the value of older consumes, but the business of buying media based
largely on 18 to 49 year olds didn't change. More recently TVLand has
made presentations detailing how active baby-boomer consumers are.
Before introducing the Wurtzel and the presentation,
outgoing NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker told a story about how CNBC's ratings took
a sudden dip earlier this year. It turned out that three people in
Nielsen's sample audience turned 55, dramatically lowering viewership in
"This is going to be an issue for us," Zucker
concluded, and asked Wurtzel to look into the phenomenon.