Commentary: Cecilia Kang — TV is Increasingly For Old People

Cecilia Kang

These television viewers are aging faster than the U.S. population, Nathanson points out. The median age in the U.S. was 37.2, according to the U.S. Census, a figure that increased 1.9 percent over a decade. So to put that in context of television viewing, he said TV audiences aged 5 percent faster than the average American.

The research shows a sharpening age divide in the entertainment industry that has traditional media scrambling and newcomers such as Vice and Netflix establishing their own online empires.

These numbers aren't surprising, and they shouldn't be a surprise to “traditional media” either. How people seek to entertain themselves has always evolved, but the rate of change has increased, and the number of entertainment channels have proliferated.

With the big network's size, they have huge amounts of resources at their disposal. But being huge doesn't mean they can sustain their influence. They have a lot of ammo, but I wouldn't count out the little guys who seem to have a better weapon up their sleave: giving the consumers what they want, when they want it, and how they want — without all the cruft and baggage.

Update: Stuff You Should Know's recent podcast, How TV Ratings Work, and covers a lot of topics, but with a good focus on advertising.