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New survey data on the influence of online social networks on entertainment-related decisions was released this month. The upshot is that Twitter and Facebook are indeed impacting consumers when it comes to movies, TV shows and video games. But we focused on something else: the survey, by The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and Penn Schoen Berland, only included 750 people between the ages of 13 and 49.

I imagine some younger person at THR putting together the sample and figuring, why bother including old people in the survey? People over the age of 50 don’t watch TV, buy movie tickets or play video games – right?


FACT: The average age of a prime-time TV viewer is 51. Even shows strongly identified with America’s youth depend on a graying group for their strong ratings. American Idol’s average viewer is 43.8; baby boomers account for 21% of Glee’s regular fans.

Read more: Television’s Senior Moment (Wall Street Journal); Why Has the Network TV Audience Gotten So Old? (Vulture); TV and Advertising to Baby Boomers and Beyond (this blog)

FACT: In 2011, one in four movie tickets in the US and Canada was sold to a person over 50. As the Motion Picture Association of America puts it, “A slight increase in the oldest age group (60+) indicates that more of these people went to the movies (28.8 million) and bought more tickets (170.2 million) than in 2010, representing a 13% market share of both.”

Read more: 2011 Theatrical Market Statistics (Motion Picture Association of America); Is Hollywood Finally Growing Up? (Washington Times); Hurray for Hollywood’s Mature Marketing Insights (this blog)

FACT: In 2011, nearly 1 in every 3 Americans over the age of 50 played a video game. Per the Entertainment Software Association, that’s “an increase from nine percent in 1999. This figure is sure to rise in coming years with nursing homes and senior centers across the nation now incorporating video games into their activities.”

Average age of a game player? 37. Average age of a game buyer? 41.

Read more: Industry Facts (Entertainment Software Association)

FACT: 32% of Baby Boomers say they visit a social networking site each day, per the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Read more: Generations Online and other resarch (Pew); Social, Silver Surfers ebook (Creating Results)


With these facts in mind, I’d love to hear The Hollywood Reporter explain: since 50+ adults are big consumers of entertainment AND are active on social networks, why weren’t they a part of your survey?

About The Author

Erin Read

Erin Read spearheads integrated and digital marketing programs for organizations targeting mature consumers. She writes, researches and speaks about marketing to baby boomers and seniors. Erin has addressed local, regional, international conferences on generational marketing. She is the co-author of three national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish; Social, Silver Surfers 2010 & 2013) and the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters.