Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Old and the Restless? Who skews older?

On SON's message board today, user CSF (Classicsoapfan) asked about my expression of the legend that B&B skews older than all of the other soaps. So, I decided to look at that using this week's data.

In the table below, I used the data provided by Toups at Soap Opera Network. I took this week's total viewers and subtracted women 18-49, girls 12-17, and men 18+. The "residual" in the second-from-right column is the leftover viewers. While a few boys under 18 and girls under 12 might be included in the residual numbers. These would be negligible. So, the column on the second-from-right mostly represents older women. What it shows us is that B&B is second only to Y&R in absolute number of these (mostly) older women. More importantly, the right-most column shows is the PROPORTION of all viewers that are older. This is a fascinating number, no? It does show in absolute terms, at least last week, that B&B has highest proportion of older viewers. But its' number is only 1% greater than its next neighbors.

The implication is definitely this: If the advertisers truly only value the 18-49 demographic, we can see that CBS has a serious problem...and we have an understanding of why (despite lower numbers) Days remains alive. It is the youngest of ALL the soaps. Why would NBC want to kill that?

One hopes that CBS is able to show the marketing value of reaching such a strong older audience. After all, ads for Depends and Centrum Silver have to run somewhere (just joking)!

SHOWTOTAL18-4912-17MENResidual (mostly women over 49)% of viewers who are older

ETA: Carolyn1980 at SON tells me that the 18+ male figure includes men over 50 (of course) which, she says, constitute the MAJORITY of the male soap viewers. Thus, she is saying the proportion of older viewers is even higher than my right column would indicate. You could probably inflate those numbers by a substantial percentage. Wow...that is definitely an aging genre.

ETA2: I added the figure above to help visualize.