Networks Debate Age Groups' Value to Advertisers

may 24, 2004  11:53 am
The difference between 18- to 49-year-olds and 25- to 54-year-olds is much more than just a few years. The conventional wisdom in the advertising and television industries is that 18-to-49 is the "money" demographic; that they're the viewers that advertisers want most to reach because they have disposable income and are not yet locked into product loyalty. They are also the hardest to reach, in that they -- particularly young men -- watch less television. For years, NBC -- thanks to "Friends" and other youthful comedies -- has owned the 18-to-49 demographic. But now CBS, which steadily has been eating away at NBC's lead among younger viewers, is making the case that slightly older viewers actually are more important to advertisers. Not surprisingly, CBS has long held the lead in the 25-to-54 age group.