Chasing Audiences: Too Much Emphasis On Youth?

Music isn’t just for the youth.

Judith Dobrzynski blogged about a study posted by Marketing Charts that says “Majority of Global Consumers Say Society Too Youth-Obsessed.”  The original study was released in a Prosumer report titled, “Aging: Moving Beyond Youth Culture” and has some very intriguing finds.  As Dobrzyinski states:

Now comes a survey which agrees that society is too youth-obsessed. According to a firm called Euro RSCG Worldwide, which survey people in 19 countries, “63% of consumers around the world believe that society’s obsession with youth has gotten out of hand.”  Results in the U.S. clocked in at exactly 63%, though the response ranged from 78% in Colombia to 45% in Belgium.

“Interestingly,” an article on Marketing Charts said, “this view is shared by 6 in 10 Millennials (aged 18-34).”

I think the irony of this isn’t lost on those of us following the audience for the Arts debate–if it is the case that the Arts are generally “behind culture” (whatever that is supposed to mean) then by chasing after young audiences, it has managed to be, again, behind the times since it looks like mainstream culture is moving beyond that kind of market demographic.

As I’ve posted, the Broadcast Industry is starting to question the focus on the 18-34/18-49 demographic.  The Sports industry has started to cater to growing ethnic minorities.  And the Pop Music Industry, which long catered to a youthful demographic is currently trying to find ways to restructure itself so it can take advantage of changing participation rates of today’s audiences (of all ages).

I’m loving the quotes used to illustrate the different sections of the Prosumer Report:

A Tempering of Our Youth Obsession

“Why is the society obsessed with youth? Is it a media-created thing? My grandma says in her times only older people were taken seriously and highly respected. So what happened? Why is everyone so ageist nowadays? I find it stupid big time.” —Giselle, posting on Yahoo! India

No Shame in Growing Old

“The big ideal is no longer aggressive anti-aging but smart aging based on the intention to embrace aging and all that comes with it. People want to tune their bodies with sports, fitness, and food and their minds with sleep, love, books, socializing, etc., in order to age well.” —Euro RSCG Germany

Keeping Old Age at Bay

“Physical and mental fitness are key factors of success in our performance-driven society and, therefore, are objects of personal ambition and effort as people seek to shape their fitness, health, and good looks.” — Euro RSCG Chicago

What Worries Us About Aging

“Older generations understand their younger family members might not spend much time with them due to work pressures, so they seek time and join activities with their friends, especially physical activities to keep their bodies and minds alert.” — Euro RSCG Shanghai

“In our new world, people are obsessed with the idea of lifelong autonomy and mobility—and it is changing their relationship with aging. It’s no longer enough to age beautifully and gracefully; now we must age in such a way that we retain our ability to do things, to contribute and be productive, and to remain a vital part of what’s happening around us.” —Marianne Hurstel, Vice President, Euro RSCG’s BETC and Global Chief Strategy Officer, Euro RSCG Worldwide

“Brazil places significant value on a youthful spirit and aesthetic. Not being able to participate in and live a youthful lifestyle is a prominent concern, compounded by poor public retirement benefits, poor infrastructure for the elderly, expensive medication and health insurance, and few elder-oriented leisure and entertainment opportunities.” —Euro RSCG Brazil

Have You Hit Your Peak?

“Nowhere in the world is growing old an attractive prospect. And even less so if you are in South Africa. Our state provides poorly for the elderly, leaving the burden to family and/or the individual to carry.” —Euro RSCG South Africa

Are We Heading Toward a New World Order?

“In the Netherlands, there is worry about the ‘aging of the population’ concerning our pensions and the shrinking size of the workforce. Outsourcing labor-intensive work feeds the discussion on the innovative power of our industries: Can you have successful R&D without doing the real (production) work yourself?” —Euro RSCG Amsterdam

In other words, businesses are seeing a large and ever growing and untapped demographic.  This is one which has much more buying power in general due to several facts which depend on the stage of life this demographic happens to be in which determines how much leisure time and discretionary funds this population has above and well beyond younger demographics.  The fact that this population will outnumber the under 49 demographic as well as the fact that a significant proportion of the under 49 demographic has little if not buying power (1-18 years) is a catering to youthful audiences is making less and less sense from a business standpoint.


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