When Nielsen Research set up its age categories for TV market research nearly 50 years ago, the edge of the earth was age 54. Nobody paid much attention to those in the 55-64 group. If you were running a TV network, all you wanted was 25-54-year-olds and you didn't really care about the older group who (as we all know) favored reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show, Matlock and Murder She Wrote.
According to NBC Universal, there's a new demographic to be reckoned with, which they dubbed "AlphaBoomers." An article by John Consoli in MediaWeek, points out that, in the US, someone turns age 55 every seven seconds and these 35 million people control nearly $2 trillion in annual spending. The article also says there are severe misperceptions about the 55-64 age group.
NBC Universal, of course, has some powerful self-interest here. Programming like NBC Nightly News and CNBC tend to attract these older viewers but don't necessarily attract enough advertising income. By expanding the definition and emphasis on the 55-65 demographic, NBCU is trying to bring more advertisers to these stalwart properties.
More good news about Alpha Boomers: