TV

Targeting the 50-plus demo

While some channels are attempting to lower the median age of their viewing audience, Retirement Living is one of the rare channels that targets the over-50 audience. Realscreen spoke with its VP of Programming, Elliot Jacobson, who told us why they're targeting this demographic and what Retirement Living is looking to greenlight.
March 2, 2009

While some channels are attempting to lower the median age of their viewing audience, Retirement Living is one of the rare channels that targets the over-50 audience. Realscreen spoke with its VP of Programming, Elliot Jacobson (pictured), who told us why they’re targeting this demographic and what Retirement Living is looking to greenlight.

What kind of programming are you looking for at Retirement Living?
We’re looking for two types of programming predominantly. We’re looking for character-driven, docusoap, reality, relationships; along the lines of lifestyle makeover shows, as a broad category. Within that I include everything from dealing with your inlaws to downsizing. [They can be] hosted or unhosted.

That’s one part. The other thing we’re looking for is travel shows. That’s definitely a sweet spot for us now, [and] for our demographic. They have to be uniquely for them, but that doesn’t mean geriatric.

Many channels are trying to lower the age range of their demographic. Why do you think the Retirement Living model works?
This is a massive demographic, it’s a very affluent one with a lot of time on its hands. Advertisers haven’t necessarily come to them yet, but we’re seeing that shift and the boomers are obviously forcing it. Advertising sales have basically followed the huge boomer generation as it moved and we don’t see it stopping now that the oldest boomer is 63. It’s a unique audience that’s completely underserved in television; the general perception of someone who’s 50-plus is that [of the] cranky old man, and they’re very often used as the butt of jokes. But the truth of the matter is they consume more television than anybody else, they’re available to watch television for more hours than any other demo, and they’re more loyal to television shows than everyone except the 2-12-year-old demo. So the reasons to do it are that the audience is definitely there, they’re discerning, and there’s, of course, a substantial amount of money in this demo.

What should producers know about Retirement Living?
We have a unique offering, we’re looking for unique concepts and we have money to spend. I’m ready to greenlight shows as soon as ones come along that work for us.

For more detail on Retirement Living see the biz section of the March/April issue of realscreen.

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