How the Median Age of TV Viewers Differs Across Platforms

December 11, 2018

It’s well known that live TV audiences are generally “graying” – as older adults remain wedded to traditional TV and youth gravitate towards digital platforms. New data from Nielsen provides more evidence as to the differing age profiles of video viewers, with live TV viewers having a median age substantially older than other platforms.

According to the analysis of audiences of 5 networks measured using Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings in September 2018, 59% of live TV viewers ages 13 and older were in the 55+ group, compared to just 5% who were aged 13-24. The median age of a live TV viewer worked out to 56. MarketingCharts’ own research – US Media Audience Demographics – has found that weekly broadcast TV viewers are skewing older over time, and cable TV viewers also have a growing skew towards older adults.

How do these networks’ live TV audiences compare to other platforms? For one, their median age is 14 years older than the median age of the connected TV device audience. Only one-quarter of the 13+ audience using connected TV devices is aged 55 and older, exceeded by the third who are aged 13-34.

The male connected TV audience skews even younger: more than one-third (37%) are ages 13-34, and a majority are under the age of 45. This presents an interesting and growing opportunity for publishers, as connected TV device penetration has reportedly tripled since 2010.

Meanwhile, computer and mobile video viewers have the youngest median age of the 4 platforms measured, of 40. Four in 10 viewers ages 13 and up fall in the 13-34 bracket, about the same percentage as are aged 45 and older (43%). Unlike the connected TV device audience, though, this group actually leans younger among women than men.

Finally, set-top box video-on-demand (STB VOD) viewers have a considerably younger profile than live TV viewers. The median age of the STB VOD audience is 45, with half ages 45 and older and one-third ages 13-34. There doesn’t appear to be much difference between the genders, although the audience appears to be slightly younger for males than females.

More details on these audience breakdowns can be found here.

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