Teens Bored With Reality But Not With Idol


Bolt Inc., a teen-targeted online community, says 13- to 24-year-olds are getting "sick" of reality TV, unless it is American Idol, and prefer sitcoms to reality. That's according to an opt-in online survey of 512 of its members (with a margin of error of ±5%).

According to Bolt, which released the survey in advance of the upfronts for clients including Nokia, Dr Pepper, Pepsi, Gillette and P&G, 68% of those surveyed said they are tiring of reality programs. But the survey also found that 91% said they plan to watch the return of Fox's American Idol next year; half said they expect to watch even more reality TV next year than they do now.

MTV's The Osbournes is the favorite reality show of this audience, Bolt says, followed by Idol, MTV's Real World and NBC's Fear Factor. The survey also found that 80% of this group is online while watching TV, creating a sort of 21st century version of "water-cooler conversation" while the show is going on. It also found that respondents prefer sitcoms to all other TV programming, with 72% watching two or more sitcoms per week, including shows in syndication.

Bolt CEO Aaron Cohen said that, among the principal conclusions of the survey are 1) you can't miss with American Idol
(teens like shows in which they can affect the outcome, he says), and 2) look for TV programs, reality and scripted, that integrate the Internet into the program so that the Web becomes the "water cooler" between episodes.

"Fox is in front right now," says Cohen, "in terms of understanding the ability of the Internet to be a grassroots force in growing ratings."