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The Viewer Files: Intro + The reality viewer

Ever wondered if a reality TV fan picks up a newspaper, or if a doc diehard would dare tune into Survivor? Or how much money a history viewer rakes in? Here's your chance to find out. The Print Measurement Bureau recently wrapped a two-year study of media consumers that gives the lowdown on how
November 1, 2006

Ever wondered if a reality TV fan picks up a newspaper, or if a doc diehard would dare tune into Survivor? Or how much money a history viewer rakes in? Here’s your chance to find out. The Print Measurement Bureau recently wrapped a two-year study of media consumers that gives the lowdown on how five core viewer constituencies use their media

The reality viewer
Age range: 40% are 18 to 34; 29% are 35 to 49.
Average age: 35
Sex: 55% women
Marital status: 52% are married, but many of them are also single (47%).
Kids: 51% have kids under 18.
Education: 61% are high school, trade school or college graduates.
Typical job: blue-collar (27%) and technology/teaching/sales and clerical (20%).
Income: US$24,947 (theirs); $63,192 (household)
Viewing habits: They are medium-heavy to heavy (for definitions, see legend on page 14) TV viewers. 92% watch during primetime, 53% during daytime, and 65% during early fringe (weekday late afternoons).
Major purchases: DVD players (31%), and home theater systems (26%) top the list. Also, 26% have remodeled their home in the past two years.
Other media consumption: They are medium to medium-light radio listeners, and prefer classic rock (47%), top 40 (40%) and modern/alternative rock (40%). Meanwhile, 34% never read a newspaper and, of those who do, 32% read less than three issues per week. When they actually pick up a daily, they peruse general news (52%), sports (29%) and, unsurprisingly, entertainment (40%). And they are medium to heavy magazine readers – People is one of their faves. Where else would they get their fill of D-list celeb gossip?
They spend an average of 8.7 hours per week online, where they email their pals (62%), browse for information (46%), and get even more entertainment news (38%).
Favorite shows: American Idol (42%), Fear Factor (42%) and Survivor (41%). But they also like CSI (43%), That ’70s Show (41%) and The Simpsons (37%).

Don’t get too serious with the reality TV viewer. She likes the fluff, so if you can present situations where folks are forced to eat disgusting bugs or resort to backstabbing antics, you’re likely to dissuade her from using the zapper. She also likes to laugh, and a good crime drama will keep her interest. But documentaries, lifestyle or nature shows are not her style. Bottom line? She wants brain candy.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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