Technology is our friend: "The target group" of 14-49 on TV
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November 12, 2015

"The target group" of 14-49 on TV

I receive a daily email with German TV ratings every morning (newsletter and all screenshots are from meedia). The ratings show "market share" and overall audience. To get the "advertising relevant" target group of 14 to 49 yo, you have to go to the website and dig a little deeper. Seeing these numbers every day, besides getting the feeling that the overall audience has been decreasing very slowly, but steadily over the last decade, the impression grew that a) 14-49 year olds (what an oddly big target group) don't watch a lot of TV anymore and b) they watch different things from "the overall audience".

Concerning a), I see my friends, my family, colleagues and clients, I ask my students and everyone who could have an opinion about this. All of them watch TV series and movies, very few of them (at least admit to) watch linear TV if it isn't for Sports, news or live events. As for b), since I don't have the time nor the meticulousness to make a scientific thing about it, somewhen this summer I promised to myself to make a quick analysis of n=1 based the email I would receive at November 11.
Let's have a look at the ratings:

The most watched show on German TV on November 10 was "Die Kanzlei" with a 5.5mn audience, the highest market share was won by news show "heute" with 19,2%.
Of the top10 shows, 9 came from ARD and ZDF, the public service broadcasting.
Now let's compare these numbers (which include the target group of 14-49) with an exclusive view on 14-49.

Surprise! The most watched show collected merely 1.34 million viewers. Out of approximately 35,8mn people (here). This means that the best show on November 10, GZSZ on RTL, managed to reach less than 4% of the target group 14-49y in Germany. Yet it was 15.2% of those who watched TV at that specific time (close to 8pm): This means that 8.8mn, approximately 1 in 4 people of 14-49y, watched TV at that time. Which again is pretty high. Note that of top 10, 9 in 10 shows were not from publich service broadcasting.

So to quickly answer my theory a) "they don't watch a lot of TV anymore": mixed results. One in 4 watching linear TV on a random night is not that bad if you ask me. Reaching them seems to get harder because they split themselves on so many programs. And, if I compare it to my environment, TV may be strong in reaching certain social classes that I cannot easily reach out to. Still: Linear TV is far away from being irrelevant. 
As for b) the "overall audience" and "14-49" are two different things entirely: a clear yes.

If we compare the top titles, you see that the shows placed #1 and #2 on "overall audience" rank #18 with 14-49. So out of the 5.5mn people who watched "Die Kanzlei" on ARD that night, only 0.78mn (approx. 14%) where 14-49yo. The other 86% of the viewership are 50+. The same goes the other way round: Top rated "GZSZ" among 14-49 reaches only #16 overall. It's share of 14-49 viewers is 51%. 

If we compare top10 only, there are only two titles shared between "overall" and "14-49" (and please note that 14-49 is still included in "overall"). It's two news shows, one on public service (ARD), one on RTL. Note how similar the market shares are. At least for that day, November 10, 2015, one could summarize that the only shows that reach a well-distributed share of "the population" are news shows. Summarizing on b), there is a clear divide of 50+ TV viewers and 14-49. It is still questionable though if a 50yo is so unattractive for advertising, but that's a different story.

It would be interesting to see if for example Facebook reaches 8.8mn daily users between 14-49 in Germany (I am very sure they do) and how much one would have to invest to reach them with a 30 second video (not 3 second autoplay). It may very well be that for short term awareness among such huge target groups, TV still is a very good choice, although a smart combination will, as always, probably be the best way to go.