Research shows that TV is for the Olds

New research is showing some more bad news for the TV business.

Research done by media analyst Michael Nathanson of Moffett Nathanson Research, shows that TV is for old people and the Internet is for the young.

The median age of a broadcast or cable television viewer during the 2013-2014 TV season was 44.4 years old, a 6 percent increase in age from four years earlier.

Audiences for the major broadcast network shows are much older and aging even faster, with a median age of 53.9 years old, up 7 percent from four years ago.

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.

“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 earlier this week.

For younger audiences, control over when and where they watch has driven the trend away from traditional television. Live television viewing was down 13 percent for all ages except for viewers 55 years and older, who are steadily watching their shows at their scheduled broadcast time.

The question now is how the most valuable companies in traditional television will respond. ESPN, which is slowly putting some of its content online, hopes millennials will eventually see the value in paying for their sports programming.

The bigger question is how will local stations figure out a way to lure the young people to watch the news.

TV consultants have been pushing weather and health reports for years. But, young people get the weather forecast from their phone and don't give a flip about health news.

TV stations need to wake up, before their audience dies off. 

H/T Washington Post