Healthcare Marketing: Television Having a “Senior Moment”

Television is now targeting older adults with its programming.  And is the place to reach aging baby boomers.    

For years television programming has been directed to the coveted 18-49 year olds.  They were the ones most likely to buy products and switch brands.  But that has changed in the land of television watching. The 80 million baby boomers are aging out of this demographic with the oldest ones turning 65 and the youngest ones reaching 47.  And this group is the segment of the market that has money and is willing to spend it on everything from cars to technology to vacations,  unlike other previous aging generations who decreased their spending as they got older.

Look at today’s primetime lineup with shows starring older actors like Tom Selleck, Kathy Bates and Mark Harmon.  And the inclusion of Steven Tyler as an Idol judge.   And older leading stars on House and Modern Family.  The networks are really catering to an older audience.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Chozich cites that boomers average watching 170 hours of television per month, which is five to six hours per day, compared to the overall average of four hours and 49 minutes.  The average age for “NCIS” (the number one rated drama) is 57.  And viewers 55+ make up over 60% of the viewers for “The Good Wife” and “Dancing With The Stars.”

So what does this mean to healthcare marketers?  It means television is a very viable medium for reaching our target audiences.  We know the heaviest users of healthcare services are those who are older.  Boomers are a huge share of the market for hospitals and they will continue to be.  And television effectively reaches them.

Although there has been much talk about the demise of television and competition for screen time from other sources, for reaching healthcare’s largest audience, television is one of the mediums of choice. Sure television’s audience is fragmented but that is actually an advantage because it allows for even more specific targeting.

Seniors and boomers are our largest market.  And in front of television screen is where you will find them.  Boomers are indeed “the TV generation”.   And as they age, television programming is aging with them.


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