Does anyone even remotely attempt to target demos outside of the 18-49 bracket (excluding, of course, demos within that demo, such as wealthy graduates with 100k+ incomes). Virtually everything I've read, such as this
article, hints that the industry is attempting to move beyond such narrow "limited logic" yet finds it difficult to do so in any real sense. Any success appears to be incidental, dare I say accidental
It seems to be a two-faced beast, published ratings, in that on one hand networks talk up successes, citing whatever demographic or total viewership is required, while seeking to diminish dissapointing performances by claiming key demos "aren't what they used to be." Truth be told, given the speed at which the entire television industry is changing (PVR, DVD releases, et cetera), I don't think any set of numbers can be seen as "the facts." Executives and creative minds alike are stuggling to find that elusive magic formula that will preserve (or even, in hushed whispers and silent prayers, increase) market share.
If anything, the recent--and I do mean recent, as in this past renewal cycle--trend has seen, for lack of a better term, "risks" on behalf of many networks. Renewing shows such as Dollhouse
, tightening budgets or placing the bulk of the monetary load on the production companies, clawing back what little residuals remain, and so on. I'm not saying risks were never taken before (The X-Files
, for example), but there has been a definite increase in my opinion.
Indeed, what is and what was a "hit" perhaps no longer holds any meaning. Is the family who eschews Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
(tried to pick the most cerebral show I could think of from recent memory) but never misses an episode of Dancing with the Stars
or Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
truly purchasing anything from the advertisements in any meaningful quantity?
Who really knows? It certainly is interesting, though. Of course, it means the ground is littered with the corpses of some truly good shows along the way...