TV is for old people.
Those are the rather blunt findings of a new study issued by media analyst Michael Nathanson of Moffett Nathanson Research.
Nathanson revealed that the median age of a broadcast or cable television viewer during the 2013-2014 TV season was 44.4 years old. This number represents a 6 percent increase in age from just four years prior.
Furthermore, the study added, if you watch major broadcast networks — CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX — you’re going to come in above that on the median, with the overall reaching 53.9 years old, a 7 percent increase from four years ago.
As for CBS, the number climbs to a median viewership of 58.7 years of age.
Nathanson adds that broadcast television viewers are “aging faster than the U.S. population, stating that the median age in the U.S. was 37.2, according to the U.S. Census,” the Washington Post reports. This figure has increased 1.9 percent over a 10-year-period.
“So to put that in context of television viewing,” Nathanson said, “TV audiences aged 5 percent faster than the average American.”
This sharpened gap in the entertainment industry has been accelerated by the rise of Netflix and Amazon. While Netflix is light years ahead of its online streaming competition in the Originals department, services like Crackle are catching up.
“The shift in demographic viewing is caused by a combination of factors ranging from lower TV penetration rates of under-25 year old households to increasing use of time-shifting technologies in most under-55 year old households,” Nathanson wrote in a research report picked up by the Post earlier this week.
What are the implications of this “TV is for old people” study?
For shows like NCIS, owned by CBS, it’s not that big of a deal considering that they own their properties and distribute across both cable and digital without discretion.
However, products like the NFL and any network that requires a cable subscription could be in trouble, especially if they’re locking in long-term deals designed to exclude cord cutters, something the National Football League is strongly considering at this time, according to Sports Business Daily.
On a personal level, my professional football viewing has dropped considerably. Over the last three seasons, I’ve gone from someone parked in front of the TV sun-up to sundown on Sunday nights to a person, who watched only three games last season (including the Super Bowl), and two of those were done at a sports bar.
Many viewers, especially in the younger demographics, are tired of being held hostage by cable companies, and so they’re gravitating towards online streaming providers and specialty networks like MLB, UFC, WWE, NHL, and MLS.
Do you think the “TV is for old people” study is a problem for channels and sports that require a cable subscription?
[Image via ShutterStock]