Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Average TV viewing age is now 50, no longer target demo

U.S. viewers of the broadcast television networks have grown older. It’s becoming clear that younger people are not watching as much TV anymore, shifting their attention to other media.

The five broadcast networks’ median age (which does not including delayed DVR viewing) was 50 years last season. That’s the oldest ever, according to a new study by research firm Magna Global.

In fact, it’s the oldest median age since the firm began analyzing the data more than a decade ago — and the first time the network’s median age fell outside of the desired 18-49 demographic.

ABC’s “Women’s Murder Club” and NBC’s “Monk” were the oldest-skewing shows for their respective networks, “Daily Variety” reported.

ABC, NBC and Fox are rapidly aging, while CBS — the oldest-skewing network for many years, has remained the same. “The median ages of the broadcast networks keep rising, as traditional television is no longer necessarily the first screen for younger people,” said Steve Sternberg from Magna Global.

The median age for U.S. households is 38 years. Fox and CW maintain median ages that are closer to the actual age of the population, Sternberg found.

Among ad-supported cable channels, the news networks (along with older-skewing Hallmark Channel, Golf Channel and GSN’s daytime programming) were the oldest, with Fox News Channel’s daytime and primetime schedules the absolute oldest, with a median age above 65 years. Youngest networks are the daytime schedules for Noggin and Nickelodeon, with a median age under 10 years.

For the just-completed 2007-2008 TV season, CBS was oldest in live viewing with a median age of 54. ABC came in at 50, followed by NBC at 49, Fox at 44, and CW and Univision both at 34.

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