Telecommunications, Automotive and Market Research

More than 15 years in the mobile telecommunications industry and an industry analyst since 1998.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hey, I like being an "AlphaBoomer." Marketers may discover life doesn't end at age 54

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 research and a survey it commissioned of people in the 55-64 demo counters common perceptions that they make less of an income and spend less on advertised products; are technophobic and brand loyal, and therefore, cannot be motivated to switch brands.

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:

...AlphaBoomers have a median household income of  $69,000, dwarfing that of those under 25 ($27,000), 25-34 ($58,000) and close to those 35-44 ($75,000).
* AphaBoomers spend more on home improvement products, home furnishing, large appliances, beauty and cosmetics and casual dining than adults 18-49.

* A similar percentage of AlphaBoomers have high-definition TVs, use DVRs and broadband as adults 18-34

* 70 percent of AlphaBoomers buy at least one product a month online

* 59 percent of AlphaBoomers send text messages via their cell phones 

“This is not something that is just going to affect NBCU,” Wurtzel said. “Down the road as more people leave the 25-54 demo, it will affect every network.” 

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