A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) indicated that baby boomers seem to be watching television more than other age groups. This is creating havoc on Madison Avenue, home to the world famous ad agencies. The corporate thinking men want to believe that it is better to cater to a younger crowd because they are more willing to spend money. But, what are you going to do if they aren’t watching the shows broadcast on prime time?
American Idol has been around since 2002. It has been a bellwether for ratings supremacy. According to WSJ, The median viewer age for this current season is 43.8 years. This is less than two years short of the official starting age of baby boomers.
NCIS, the number one hit of last year, had a median viewing age of 57.4! Twenty years ago, the top shows had a median age of the mid thirties. What’s a network to do? How do they cajole baby boomers who already have bought most of the toys they want into spending excess dollars? Especially when Boomers are worried about having enough to last them once they retire.
That’s enough about that. They pay the network and advertising executives way too much money so let them have sleepless nights. I’m content with YouTube.com and Hulu.com. What I really wanted to talk about is how I got to reading the Wall Street Journal.
It was by accident, I promise you. You see, my mother gets it delivered to her house every day. She didn’t subscribe- my brother did. He gave it to her as a present. Why? Because he thinks it is the best newspaper in America. So, now she gets it along with the Chicago Tribune. It’s what you call a safety valve because who knows how long the Tribune will still put out a printed edition.
It’s a reality that will come into being within five years or less. You want to have the newspaper sitting in front of you while you eat or whatever, you’ll need to print it out from your computer. Online is where it’s at, baby. This fact is changing the scope of news production. The Linotype guys are going the way of the dinosaur being replaced by people who know how to use Adobe Photoshop and it’s clones in laying out web generated screens full of news and advertisements. This is also wreaking havoc on the printing unions who are scrambling to redefine membership requirements and the new job descriptions.
When I was a young adult back in the 1970’s, I took a certain elitist pride in having a magazine such as The Atlantic Monthly and others like it mailed to me. My brother even convinced me in the following decade to subscribe to The New Republic. Back then, a person would patiently wait to get a hold of intelligent thoughts put in writing on various subjects even if it meant that by the time you read it the subject was old news.
Today, there is no such luxury. We are dialed into the heartbeat of the world instantaneously. We no longer want to receive in the mail articles of information on events that happened a week earlier. Three more crises would have already happened in the meantime that would have usurped all our attention. Andy Warhol once famously spoke about everyone getting their fifteen minutes of fame. Today, fifteen minutes is about it with little recall.
As Baby Boomers, though, we want a piece of the world we used to live in and all the modern improvements that become available. We’ll decide what to watch on television and the network executives be damned! After all, the doggone home entertainment box was invented on our watch.